IPChain, a blockchain initiative supported by Russian government innovation fund Skolkovo, is trying to create a “unified rights database” based on the blockchain for Russian audio, video media.
Four accredited state organizations manage rights collection. They are the Russian Union of Right Holders (RSP), Russian Organization for Intellectual Property (WIPO), the Russian Authors’ Society (RAO) and the Partnership for the Protection and Rights Management in the Field of Art (UPRAVIS). While nonesuch powerhouses have signed up, IPChain is set to start in September.
The platform is being developed in collaboration with collecting societies RAO, RSP and VOIS and several research institutions. Head of Warner Music Russia, Alexander Blinov, expressed interest in the initiative. Business daily Vedomosti quoted him opining that IPChain is an “interesting project” for the music publishers.
“IPChain first verifies catalog, ownership, and payment details,” says Andrei Krichevsky, general director of collecting society VOIS. “Payments are then automatically accrued and accounted. Then, deposited into the proper bank account. Using blockchain, IPChain eliminates negative issues that come from human involvement.”
In another interview, Krichevsky told Billboard: “Today, just working transparently and efficiently isn’t enough [for a collecting society]. Collecting societies need to be more than just intermediaries between rights holders and users, they need to become unified digital platforms providing the entire range of services related to authors’ and neighboring rights.”
IPChain “is expected to become a driver for the industry’s development and an instrument for players that want development, growth and — in a good sense — expansion to international intellectual property markets,” Krichevesky determined. The platform is due to be launched in early 2018.
“The prototype for IPChain is expected to be ready by September, then it will be tested to be launched early next year,” Maxim Proksh, an intellectual property advisor to Skolkovo chairman of the board, told Billboard. “We want to build on a common technology platform IPhub place where you can see information about the different types of intellectual property objects – objects of copyright and related rights, patents, trademarks, etc.. This is a service with information on the use of any object: we will offer all authors and publishers to place your objects in it, and determine the scope and manner of their use. Will also have to develop information exchange standards to the platform can connect their system other rights owners.”
The rights data base will include music, audiovisual content and records. A state-accredited collecting society will maintain the system.
IPChain would totally transform intellectual property system in Russia and become the foundation for online exchanges of intellectual property, because the blockchain allows copyrighted items to be tracked and registered.
The misfortune of RAO’s former general director Sergei Fedotov, arrested on embezzlement charges last year, has seemingly spurred an attempt by the industry to clear its name.
Discussion in Russia’s press questioned how the project would be funded, and if more public money would be used. A person close to founders reportedly told local media that 20-30 million rubles would be needed to finance the project.
Krichevsky says that projects to develop concepts and technological basis of intellectual property rights with blockchain have been ongoing for a year.
“Today, we have come close to realizing this vision into practice,” he said.
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