What Marketers Can Learn From Blockchain’s Evolution into IP

Blockchain is everywhere: movies, music, games. The secret connection is intellectual property. Here's how the blockchain is changing the face of IP—and what you can learn.

Photo: Markus Spiske via <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/iar-afB0QQw">Unsplash</a>
Photo: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

The explosion of digital blockchain platforms is well known today for having significantly influenced the world of financial independence. We live in a world where major companies have taken to accepting popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum for legitimate transactions like they’re common USD. 

But the world’s savvy crypto wizards have taken to finding other, more experimental applications of these ever-expanding technology platforms. Take intellectual property (IP) rights, for example. In the age of on-demand streaming platforms and social media that’s all about putting power and freedom into your hands, fans and content creators alike have been concocting ways to leverage others’ IP to creative—though sometimes nefarious—ends.

Making sense of antiquated IP laws

In today’s digital ecosystem, when you download an album or stream a movie for free from a website, it’s not explicitly the same as theft because no original, genuine article is directly affected or disappeared. But doing so effectively takes a sale opportunity from the IP holder and/or publisher. As such, marketers have struggled to sell digital goods for this very reason: they inherently contain less value than tangible items, like a table or a cheeseburger.

Many in the blockchain space believe that blockchain technology brings with it massive potential for completely upending the way we think about IP rights. With the help of this wholly standardized digital ledger system made possible through the blockchain, they say, IP holders will no longer need to worry about proving how people obtain their content. They’ll just check the data.

Finding new life for blockchain technology

Indeed, the potential applications for blockchain in the IP space are staggering. It can help provide evidence of creatorship and provenance authentication. It can assist publishers in managing digital IP rights. It can even register and clear IP rights, or track how unregistered IP gets distributed of unregistered IP—you name it. 

Smart contracts are a huge topic right now in the blockchain space. These programs self-execute once a series of predetermined criteria have been met and are wholly ruled by objective algorithms. But the catch to the blockchain-based contracts is that the terms aren’t up for legal debate—if both parties agree to the terms presented by the smart contract upfront, they stand. 

In the IP protection space, smart contract technology can be used to establish and enforce IP agreements like licenses. Under the terms of a smart contract, both parties can agree to make payments in real-time to IP owners once a transaction occurs. What’s known as “smart information”—metadata on IP rights which exists in protected content such as a photograph or a movie—could be digitally encoded into a contract to help IP holders understand what is and isn’t genuinely purchased, properly licensed version of their IP.

MarketSmiths Case Study

A leading platform for collaborating in-house to generate beautiful regulatory and shareholder-facing documents, Tangelo needed help building up its international audience—with clear, engaging copy that even non-experts could understand. MarketSmiths was soon on the case, quickly grasping Tangelo and its complex B2B product positioning. Our early website copy for the Dutch firm helped secure its first Australian client, while a recent LinkedIn campaign got the company around 40 leads. Combined that with quick turnarounds and it’s no wonder we’ve been so instrumental in getting Tangelo noticed in a crowded market. 

>Read the full case study 

Rethinking metadata with SharpShark’s innovative touch 

SharpShark is one company innovating in this smart information space. The Chilean startup devised a tool on the Symbol blockchain platform designed for creators of all shapes and sizes to help maintain copyright over their work. It works by creating a digital signature issued to content that gets stored in an immutable form. Thanks to this signature, it’s easy to prove who possesses illegitimate copies of an IP holders’ content.

The first batch of copy a user sees upon visiting their website is powerfully direct: “Protect your content from plagiarism in just 3 clicks.” It’s easy to see the marketing potential inherent to the premise of what SharpShark is offering consumers—protection. Protecting your assets is arguably the biggest concern for marketers in all modern industries. Who wouldn’t be comforted by the knowledge that technology can ensure their property is safe and secure? 

Revitalizing marketing with disruption

SharpShark’s messaging on protection is bold—mirroring its approach to the product. It uses blockchain technology in a way it wasn’t intended for: the entire brand aims to circumvent the conventions of a digital ledger platform initially designed for fintech to empower artists. Look at how NFTs took the world by storm earlier this year. It’s all because they hopped, skipped, and jumped over the conventions of transacting digital work to directly connect artists with new, untapped audiences.

This is SharpShark’s subliminal messaging to marketers: rethink your conventions. Disrupt and innovate. In a sea of copycats and lookalikes, change is just about the only way to protect your brand from stale, tepid traditions.

Looking for a team of writers that can ignite your brand with crisp, fresh copy? Get in touch with MarketSmiths to stand out from the competition.

Devin Raposo

Devin Raposo

Forever curious, Devin writes to learn. Before becoming a ‘Smith, he studied as a software engineer while honing his craft writing short fiction as well as acerbic cultural critique in the arts space.

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