For most people in India, Blockchain technology is an unfamiliar concept, but if we were to tell you that it is an innovative technology which facilitates a shared ledger among different parties involved in business transactions, would that be easier to comprehend?
Literally speaking, Blockchain is essentially a chain of blocks with each block containing a ledger of transactions, a unique code (cryptographic hash) for the data stored in the block as well as the code of the previous block in the chain. This ensures that data stored under this system is secured and virtually incorruptible. As we look into the future, the adoption of such a transparent and efficient form of technology is imperative, especially in the media and entertainment industry.
In the recent past, we have seen a significant shift in consumer preference as far as media is concerned, from traditional to the more non-conventional forms of media. The advent of digital media has led to a rise in content piracy causing financial loss to both media and the entertainment industry. However, the emergence of ChatGPT and other AI powered text-based tools has increased the threat of content piracy more than ever before. From students to working professionals, all are finding it easier to simply copy from ChatGPT. Such has been the impact that there is a plethora of AI powered plagiarism checker applications now available online to detect such instances of plagiarism. This is where the impenetrable nature of blockchain will help in preventing content piracy and assist in verifying content ownership which will ultimately benefit the creators of such content.
Apart from piracy, another aspect which Blockchain helps in improving is the distribution of content and its monetization. While traditionally publishers of content have acted as the go-between for consumers of content and the creators, Blockchain will enable direct peer-to-peer transactions, which will allow content creators to directly share their work with the users. This will result in considerably lower expenses and ensure that the creators receive their fair share.
Moreover, Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way business is conducted in the media industry, especially digital media. As an example, if users are allowed to pay for the precise amount of content (videos/articles) that they consume as opposed to the subscription model which is generally followed today, it will not only be more consumer friendly but also further the trust element between the creator and the consumer. Furthermore, the said technology can lead to a fair and transparent system of copyright management and royalty distribution, reduction of advertisement frauds and in streamlining the process of talent management.
Current Laws And Regulations On Blockchain Technology
If and when recognition is to be given to smart contracts, it would lead to amendment of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 and the Information Technology Act, 2000. To provide clarity on the data protection laws, to justify the attributes of Blockchain, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, shall also be refined. Laws related to digital advertising and content censorship, like the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, may also need to be revised to accommodate the impact of Blockchain on these areas. Therefore, there is a requirement of constant policy making, since new challenges will always emerge, along with a collaborative effort to face all the regulatory and legal challenges.
While the adoption of this technology in India is still in its nascent stages, the Ministry Of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) released a report entitled National Strategy On Blockchain in December 2021. The report states-
“Blockchain Technology helps in enabling trust in the digital world using technology. Any tangible or intangible asset of value can be represented and tracked on a Blockchain network, which brings transparency, increases processing speed and reduces cost. Therefore, benefits of Blockchain technology include transparency, security, and efficiency, which make it unique in enabling a layer of trust over the Internet for various applications.”
MeitY has also initiated a project on design and development of a National Blockchain Framework for creation of a shared Blockchain infrastructure and offering Blockchain as a service. The said report further states that existing regulations and policies would be “updated as needed as the National Blockchain Framework evolves and more experience is gained during the implementation.”
Current Use of Blockchain in India
As a result of extensive research by a multi-institutional project titled ‘Distributed Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology’, which is supported by MeitY, a proof of concept solution has been developed regarding the use of Blockchain in various domains. One such example is a Blockchain based solution for property registration being piloted in Telangana. Similarly, a generic Blockchain based Proof-of-Existence (PoE) framework has been developed to enable PoE for digital artefacts, for checking the integrity of academic certificates, sale deed documents and others.
In conclusion, the global media and entertainment industry revenue is worth over 2 trillion dollars. As per a report by The Times of India, illegal streaming and downloading of content resulted in an approximate loss of 51.6 billion dollars in the year 2022. Therefore, apart from protecting the rights of content creators, use of the said technology in the media and entertainment industry will be extremely effective in countering content piracy and will also enrich the over-all user experience through data driven insights.