Is Bitcoin the Key to Digital Copyright?

napsterofmoney25 Feb 2014 / Reason – Bitcoin has been going through a rough patch lately. The slow motion implosion of the once-largest exchange. The arrest of a notable evangelist. The bug that the media blew out of proportion, but that attackers still exploited. This is what the world has heard about Bitcoin in the last few weeks.

Yet not a day goes by that I don’t come across some new use of the technology: Either a new use of Bitcoin’s decentralized ledger itself, like event contracting using verified facts from a third party such as Reality Keys; or a new application of the decentralized trust concept that Bitcoin introduced, like the OpenLibernet project, which aims to give people an incentive to build out a censorship-resistant mesh network.

A case in point is how Bitcoin’s technology could help solve one of the gnarliest problems of 21st Century copyright. If you buy a book at Barnes and Noble, you are free to give it away to a friend after you’ve read it, or sell it to a used book store. But you can’t if you buy that same book for your Kindle or iPad. To lend, sell, or give away a digital copy of a digital book or song is copyright infringement.

Copyright law grants copyright owners the exclusive right to sell, lend, or give away copies of their protected works. This “distribution right” is separate and apart from the better known “reproduction right,” which is the exclusive right to make copies of a protected work. This means that a flea market vendor of pirated DVDs is infringing copyright even if he didn’t make the copies himself….. Read more

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