Blockchain and Copyright: Towards Smart Protection for Digital Works
Prof. Ashraf Jaber
Professor of civil law
Faculty of Law, Helwan University, Egypt
This study deals with the extent of the authority of the blockchain technology in the field of digital proof, in general, as well as its authority in the scope of proof of copyright as a technology that enhances the concept of trust through a digital system that works through smart contracts. It also deals with the role of this technology in enhancing the author’s powers over his digital work, effectively using his moral rights over him, and preventing it from alteration, distortion, or forgery, as well as his right to withdraw his work, especially in light of the stability of this technology of digital content. The study also dealt with the role of blockchain as a fair digital platform in controlling the methods of performing the financial compensation for authors, achieving transparency, and ensuring the best distribution of financial rights for authors and neighboring rights holders. It also covers what could be the future of collective management of copyright in light of this technology.
The study found the availability of e-writing conditions in the blockchain technology, and the availability of some e-signature conditions in it, while it faces difficulty with respect to some of these conditions. It also concluded that the blockchain can be considered as a means of digital filing of copyrights through the encryption mechanism that allows the creation of a unique automatic code for the work linked to the code of the block that contains it. This digital deposit shall serve as a presumption or evidence of copyright precedence.
The study recommended the legislative adoption of this technique within the scope of intellectual property laws in order to achieve compatibility between its nature and the rules of copyright protection, thus bringing an end to the state of legislative void in the face of various technologies that have become a cornerstone of electronic transactions. It also recommended that the collective management entities of copyright and related rights should benefit from the advantages of this technology in performing their role in a manner that guarantees the protection, management, and distribution of holders’ rights in a more fair and transparent manner, and in a way that advances the digital publishing industry in general.
Key words: blockchain, digital proof, copyright, digital work, collective management.