Sony Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Global Education are on the path to redefine digital rights management (DRM) systems. The affiliate corporations have used their internal resources to create a blockchain-based extension to their current DRM system.

Announcing the project on Monday, the company explained the decision to use the technology underlying Bitcoin by stating that blockchains create networks where programs and information are difficult to destroy or falsify, and are well-adapted for the free transfer of data and rights.

A New DRM System for a New World of Intellectual Property

According to Sony, bringing the blockchain into the general ecosystem for safeguarding intellectual property will help DRM systems catch up with the way digital content is distributed and utilised across the globe.

Today, advances in technologies for digital content creation allow anyone to broadcast and share content, but the rights management of that content is still carried out conventionally by industry organizations or the creators themselves, necessitating a more efficient way of managing and demonstrating ownership of copyright-related information for written works, Sony says in the press release.

The Tamper-proof Technology for Protecting a Wide Variety of Content

Sony decided to focus on blockchain technology due to its capacity to record verifiable information in a difficult to falsify way, and identifying previously recorded works, allowing participants to share and verify when a piece of electronic data was created and by whom, according to the announcement.

Thus, the new DRM system will be able to automatically verify the rights generation for electronic data, a task which was difficult to perform using traditional systems. Sony aims to use the new DRM system to manage the rights for a wide variety of content, from educational content to VR content, including electronic textbooks, music and films.

Future Outlook for the Blockchain Enabled DRM System – DRM as a Service

At the moment, the digital rights management system is in the prototype phase. The main idea is to create a simple and effective solution for authentication, sharing and rights management for educational data.

“Blockchains create networks where programs and information are difficult to destroy or falsify, and are well-adapted for the free transfer of data and rights.’’

However, the corporation envisions future uses of this new project. Once it is completed, the DRM system may be commercialised as a service to other intellectual property holders across the globe. At the same time, Sony is also exploring ways to expand this system across other business domains of its own.

Sony and Blockchain: the Beginning of a History

This is not the first attempt of Sony Corporation in leveraging the advantages of blockchain technology. In August, the US Patent and Trademarks Office published two Sony patents related to blockchain.

One of the patents is for an electronic device which maintains a blockchain based on multiple electronic nodes. The other describes a way of maintaining a blockchain by multiple virtual nodes.

In 2017, the corporation filed a patent application for a multi-factor authentication system developed on blockchain, and established a partnership with IBM for the development of a blockchain-based platform for sharing student records in a secure manner.


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