Longread: Blockchain and proof of authorship


It so fell out that I use my spare time to come up with bizarre jokes. Most of them are too complicated to become popular; however, sometimes my majesty comes down from the ivory tower and generates something that immediately spreads out like a virus. It spreads out so effectively that my facebook friends sometimes send me my own jokes having no idea they originated from my head.

Such instances are always a secret feather in a bonnet of anyone, who, just like me, uploads their madness on the web free. However, the pleasure usually gets spoiled when you see your works on some disgusting public pages surrounded with stupid comments and immodest number of likes. It is quite upsetting, as you feel your work having not enough appreciation in the first place. But it becomes even more upsetting when you realize that those goddamn communities make a living on what you do, while you have to work on ancient Greek computer, and sometimes you don’t have enough money to buy cigarettes.

Certainly, nowadays there are some services offering to replace good old likes with microtransactions. Anyway, as for now, those services face the problems of narrow audiences, which are mostly specific. The latter doesn’t make the audience worse or better than any other audience, but it makes it impervious to certain kinds of content. Moreover, founders of those platforms cannot be sure that even in two years’ time their service’s coverage will become at least comparable to that of even moderately popular social media.

Call me a mercantile bitch, but originally I create my content without any thoughts of making a fortune. I certainly have no objections as to its free distribution. It is not so important that people don’t know it was me. However, when some people with infusorian morals start raising fortunes on what I’ve done, I instantly feel they robbed me. It has nothing to do with regular users, who don’t pay for the content. I’d even be ashamed of obtaining microtransactions from then, as it would make me work for money. It cannot incentivize any artistic aspiration whatsoever. However, various organizations who use non-copyrighted content every now and then are a completely different matter. The content wasn’t meant for them, after all.

For that reason, I think that all those microtransaction platforms are a cure for a dead parrot. Any artist (in a broad sense of word) may confirm that finding your own work as an asset is a dubious pleasure. But much worse than that is to find some scumbag making a fortune on what you do, while you cannot do a thing about it. Seriously, it’s like some bastard has raped your inspiration. Nothing pleasant at all.

Broader acceptance of blockchain could save my colleagues and me from all those troubles. First, we’d have a reinforced concrete proof that we are actually authors of the content in question. Moreover, we wouldn’t have to go to local copyright entities to register every picture or text we come up with, as it would have happened automatically. Had the practice been common, the junta from social media would have to contend with the authors. As soon as the public page administrators had not been able to get away with stealing, they would have been obliged to share their advertisement revenues with the people who actually made those revenues possible. Eventually they would stop stealing the content, and would have to contact the authors and hire them.

However, it is a question, what is closer: a broader adoption of the blockchain, or the galaxy of Andromeda. Many consider copyright an evil hindering free distribution of information. In most cases, it is correct, especially when it comes to major media corporations. However, there is no absolute evil in the world. Blockchain copyright is rather good than evil, as it protects modest independent creators from invasion of commercial sharks without placing any obstacles on the way of free content distribution.

By Jenny Aysgarth

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