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Will Blockchain Disrupt Entertainment and Copyright Law?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

The increasing adoption of blockchain technology may soon have a significant impact for entertainment and copyright lawyers. It's more of a question of when rather than whether. In fact, any lawyer that drafts or reviews contracts better start learning about blockchain as the future is here (so no more complaining about the lack of flying cars). If you don't know anything about blockchain, you need to start learning.

Blockchain is already seeing some use on the fringes of the music industry. There are already music distribution services using the technology to help artists, creators, and even regular people, make money by distributing music using blockchain.

How Will Blockchain Disrupt Music Distribution?

As a result of the way blockchain works by stacking transactions, and often in concert with smart contracts, it is almost perfect for the job of handling the distribution of copyrights and licenses.

For example, an artist can upload a music track into a smart contract. When a user purchases a license to use the track, they are executing the smart contract, which adds a node to the blockchain, then provides access to the music track. Taking this example one step further, because blockchains are decentralized, music streaming services could, in theory, get a user's info from a blockchain in order to allow the user to stream music to which they own or have the rights to.

Will Individuals and Artists Be Crushed by Big Blockchain?

Fortunately, as of yet, there is no "big blockchain," as in big oil, big pharma, or even big law. Currently, the services that are adopting blockchain tend to focus on serving individual artists by giving them more control over their distribution channels. When major entertainment industry players start adopting the technology, the same high returns that the current services are offering will likely not be matched by the large labels, which will also likely fight the adoption of blockchain technology.

The big advantage to artists and creators in the entertainment industry comes from the transparency inherent in blockchain. Since the ledger is public, when the big labels and producers start using blockchain, creators will be able to more closely analyze whether they have been paid fairly.

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