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Japan to develop a blockchain-based content service platform

We previously reported that the Japanese government initiated a blockchain project for content management. Finally, the government has set up a budget to develop a blockchain-based content service platform.

This platform allows for monetization of derivative works. It records the relationship between contributors of an original content and its derivative works. Also, it enables to distribute income from the contents to the contributors. A smart contract will help to manage the permission of creating derivative works and the income sharing. The government expects this platform to create a new content market. 

Conceptual scheme of the service platform

The attached chart shows the conceptual scheme of the service platform disclosed by the government.

Two persons, Contributor 1 and Contributor 2, creates Content A. Then, they agree the income-sharing ratio according to each person’s degree of contribution; 50:50 in this example. So, when they receive income from users of Content A, each of them will receive 50% of the income.

Next, Contributor 3 creates Content B which is the derivative work of Content A. Contributor 3 will receive 30% of the income from Content B, according to the contract with the contributors of Content A. On the other hand, Contributor 1 and Contributor 2 will receive 70% of the income from Content B.

Likewise, Contributor 4 creates Content C based on Content B. Contributor 4 will receive 15% of the income from Content C, according to the contract with the contributor of Content B. Then, the 85% of the income from Content C will be distributed to the contributors of Content A and Content B.

So, in this platform, when the derivative work generates income, the preceding contributors can receive a part of the income automatically.

It looks like the network business model, such as pyramid-scheme or multi-level marketing (MLM). But it is a win-win platform.

Such a platform may change how creators make contents. They may get to create contents which are easier to create the derivative works. By the way, Nintendo published its game content guidelines that permits users to use its copyrighted works in their contents and monetize them under certain conditions.

Application to Patent

Applying this platform to patent, a dependent patent may correspond to a derivative work. A dependent patent is a patent which cannot be worked without exploiting an earlier patent invention (i.e. original patent). It would be amazing if such a platform will be prepared. In this platform, everyone respects the preceding inventors and patents, and share income from the dependent patents. However, the same approach as copyrighted work may not work well for patent. So, it may require a little ingenuity to promote patent transactions.

Other possible blockchain-based application

Geographical indications (GI) may be a good candidate for a blockchain-based application. A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin; e.g. Japan’s Kobe beef, France’s Bordeaux wine. Because the blockchain technology is suitable for recording tracking data to prove the origin.

I believe there are other good candidates for blockchain-based applications in the field of intellectual property. Let’s watch how blockchain technologies will be developed in the IP world!

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