By Soubhik Chakrabarti
Back in 2016, the U.S. Police arrested the then 30-year-old Artem Vaulin, who ran the biggest torrent site in the world, Kickass Torrents.
In the last ten years, we have had similar torrent, and file sharing sites close down; Limewire being one of the more notable mentions.
That makes many of us think that piracy isn’t what it was before. Some statistics do point to that. The music industry, for instance, has seen a significant boost to its revenues since streaming became common.
Yet, all being said, piracy is still as good a threat as it was a decade ago. File sharing seems to be the most popular method for pirates – in North America alone, it has grown by over 44% between 2008 to 2014. The original Kickass Torrents may have died with Vaulin’s arrest, but plenty of sister sites took its place. Even today, over 20% of U.S. consumers pirate TV shows while over 35% have got their music downloads illegally.
Copyright infringement and ineffective or non-existent distribution of revenue and royalties remain a concern. Illegal downloads and piracy still are hard to control, and the digital publishing industry is surely looking for an alternative.
While the movie and music industry may have regained lost ground with online streaming services, the same cannot be said about the gaming industry.
It is among the worst hit, with estimates suggesting that more than 35% of gamers use pirated games. Some, like Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot though, believes that only 5-7% of PC gamers pay for their game; the rest, pirate.
But all that might soon be about to change.
Now, a technology originally meant to manage cryptocurrencies is opening new horizons for the digital content industry and begging the stakeholders to join in!
Yes, you guessed it right!
Blockchain- a revolutionary and disruptive technology introduced to manage Bitcoins by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 can come to the rescue of the content and book publishing industry resolving its pain points. The same technology has disrupted many industries and business, and the world is just realizing its potential.
The power of blockchain can make the digital publishing industry benefit as a whole.
The publishing industry has long been suffering from copyright and ownership problems. Easily download and share or upload content without giving credit to the original artist. Just keeping records doesn’t mean anything because you are not in ownership of the content.
With the power of blockchain, it is possible to own digital assets. The content will be time stamped, and its permanent record stays on the blockchain indefinitely. The technology enables you to register the ownership of any physical or intellectual asset and trade it.
Several contributors like editors, designers can also be linked with the ownership easily. It’s easy to track the ownership chain of any copyrighted work for its entire lifecycle.
The Power of Smart Contracts
Blockchain technology also uses smart contracts- self-executing codes that exist on a blockchain that can automatically implement terms of agreements between authors and readers. The contracts are preprogrammed and execute when the specific conditions are met.
Smart contract programming helps chalk out the details of an agreement in minutes. We use smart contracts for trading and sharing revenue from the digital collectibles, and the same concept can be applied to digital content.
Authors and contributors can get their share of revenue or royalties based on the smart contracts, which are carried out safely and automatically in real-time, without any human intervention.
As an author, you could start receiving royalties easily, with smart contracts ensuring revenue distribution every time content is purchased or when it changes hand.
Easy Payments through Smart Wallets
We have a personal smart wallet for every user, which can be used to receive payments and trade the collectibles. Players can directly make payments to content creators through smart wallets powered by blockchain.
The technique makes the payment process simplified and didn’t need any intermediary agent to carry out the transaction saving unnecessary commissions. All contributors can have their own smart wallets and receive payments securely according to the revenue sharing rules.
As smart wallets also allow micropayments, they raise the profitability of the content creators. Now you have the freedom to buy a single song or purchase a single article from an author. The resulting micropayment can be directly made to the smart wallet without any hassle.
Since blockchain is also able to handle a huge number of transactions at less time, it can give rise to a robust payment management system.
Elimination of Third Party Middlemen
New artists or authors find it difficult to retain the whole profit from their work. The likes of Amazon and Spotify eat up a huge chunk of the artist’s or author’s revenue in the form of commission leaving peanuts behind for them.
Blockchain can eliminate the entire need for intermediaries, and help artists release their content directly to the audience. For example, Gamedesk enables the trading and distribution of collectibles through its network where each transaction is carried between games and asset owners. Sale or exchanges happens directly between the parties, with no third party controlling the transaction.
Likewise, you can use blockchain technology to distribute digital content like songs and ebooks – without needing any third party to ruin the profitability. Emerging artists and new creators on the block also don’t have to wait for months for their payment and suffer from other financial uncertainty.
Blockchain gives the Power Back to Content Creators
Authors and content creators don’t have a say in the whole process of publication, distribution and sale. They give up all control once their work leaves their hands and goes to the publisher – often, the likes of YouTube.
With blockchain, content creators will directly control their distribution and sale and be able to manage everything in between. They can exercise their opinion and make the necessary changes without falling prey to the dictations of publishers or the recording labels.
Blockchain has the potential to transform the digital publishing industry and make the whole ownership process effective and transparent. It can also dramatically revolutionize the revenue and royalty sharing process ensuring effective, timely and hassle-free sharing of profit among the relevant stakeholders.
You can do all of this in minutes, achieving everything at a lesser cost and cutting out the commissions of the business sharks considerably.
Many projects are already underway harnessing the power of blockchain in digital publishing.