Sony has been issued a patent for a content rights management system that leverages blockchain to enable users to store digital rights.
The patent, filed by both Sony and its subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment, envisions a content rights management system powered by the distributed ledger technology.
The electronics company’s blockchain solution will see users store and manage their content rights on the blockchain, a move that could spell out the future of digital rights management.
In a document published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent claims that current digital rights management (DRM) solutions that businesses use “may not be very reliable and rely on one unique point of failure. If the rights locker provider or system goes out of business or otherwise fails, the user loses all the acquired content.”
Currently, the best way for businesses to give users access to their digital rights is to engage third-party vendors for digital rights locker or content storage systems. According to Sony, this current approach is unreliable because it stores a user’s content rights on a license that is applicable to a single user on a specified platform.
Sony blockchain-powered DRM system would eliminate the necessity of third-party service providers and unlock limited access to vast possibilities, giving the company and its customers more control of the data.
The document describes several possible implementations of the technology, but in each case, the ledger begins with a genesis block. It is in the genesis block where a user’s identifying information is stored. This is how Sony blockchain technology could work:
While the use case of the blockchain-based solution seems limitless, Sony argues it could manage rights for “various types of content or other data, such as movies, television, video, music, audio, games, scientific data, medical data, etc.”
Concurrently, a DRM computer system would verify the “blockchain key” and decrypt the encrypted content, giving the user access to specific rights in the blockchain. The patent application states:
“The DRM system verifies the rights blockchain and confirms that the access is within the usage rights granted within the corresponding block in the rights blockchain. Once verified and confirmed, the DRM system decrypts or facilitates decrypting the encrypted content data and the user system can access the decrypted content.”
It remains to be seen if Sony could implement this tech given that it is still in the patent stage.