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Author Topic: Using Bitcoin Block Chain to Copyright Written Works  (Read 4776 times)
OgNasty
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April 11, 2012, 04:41:29 PM
 #1

There are several services that use the Bitcoin Block Chain to store written messages.  Do you think that one could use the Bitcoin Block Chain as a sort of 'poor man's copyright' to establish legal ownership of written works?

I did not see this question addressed using the search function.  If it has, please point me to a link.  Thank you.

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DILLIGAF
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April 11, 2012, 07:55:13 PM
 #2

There are several services that use the Bitcoin Block Chain to store written messages.  Do you think that one could use the Bitcoin Block Chain as a sort of 'poor man's copyright' to establish legal ownership of written works?

I did not see this question addressed using the search function.  If it has, please point me to a link.  Thank you.

Most countries have copyright by default now, a change from what used to be where you had to claim your copyright if you wanted it. For example now you see this written down it is copyrighted to me without having to do anything to claim it.
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April 11, 2012, 08:01:17 PM
 #3

There are several services that use the Bitcoin Block Chain to store written messages.  Do you think that one could use the Bitcoin Block Chain as a sort of 'poor man's copyright' to establish legal ownership of written works?

I did not see this question addressed using the search function.  If it has, please point me to a link.  Thank you.

Most countries have copyright by default now, a change from what used to be where you had to claim your copyright if you wanted it. For example now you see this written down it is copyrighted to me without having to do anything to claim it.
Actually, there isn't a legal precedent yet for whether a forum owner or the person creating the post owns the copyright.

But in general, as long as you can prove you created the work, you retain copyright by default, as DILLIGAF indicates.

I think the blockchain could possibly be used for the purpose, though you'd have to figure out the best way to condense the information.  Maybe just a hash of the data would be sufficient.

There are many easier ways of doing it though - one being, just emailing the works to yourself and a few friends and family.  Emails generally hold up in court just fine.
OgNasty
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April 13, 2012, 03:50:05 PM
 #4

There are many easier ways of doing it though - one being, just emailing the works to yourself and a few friends and family.  Emails generally hold up in court just fine.

Emails as copyrights do not hold up in court.  At least not in the entertainment industry.  I know this from experience.  I have seen people take written works and physically mail themselves the works, not opening the letter and submitting that to the court as evidence.  The post mark has held up (although I have also heard stories of it not working).  For that reason, I was thinking the block chain could be an easier and even stronger evidence of a copyright.  

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=47283.0  <- This seems like a reasonable solution for placing written works in the block chain.

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SgtSpike
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April 13, 2012, 04:46:19 PM
 #5

There are many easier ways of doing it though - one being, just emailing the works to yourself and a few friends and family.  Emails generally hold up in court just fine.

Emails as copyrights do not hold up in court.  At least not in the entertainment industry.  I know this from experience.  I have seen people take written works and physically mail themselves the works, not opening the letter and submitting that to the court as evidence.  The post mark has held up (although I have also heard stories of it not working).  For that reason, I was thinking the block chain could be an easier and even stronger evidence of a copyright.  

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=47283.0  <- This seems like a reasonable solution for placing written works in the block chain.
I've also heard that the post mark isn't a valid way of holding up a copyright either.  Regardless, the goal of the court is to give the true author the rights to a work.  I think email and/or postage would work MOST of the time, but other pieces of evidence might "outweigh" it, so that's why it's not recommended as a sole method of proof.

So, more details about this blockchain idea... what would you do?  Hash the data and insert it into the blockchain?
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April 16, 2012, 04:26:37 AM
 #6

Best to take the SHA1 or RIPEMD160, then hash to address, and send a a bitcent to that address.  When you need to prove https://blockexplorer.com/q/addresstohash...
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April 16, 2012, 06:37:21 AM
 #7

Best to take the SHA1 or RIPEMD160, then hash to address, and send a a bitcent to that address.  When you need to prove https://blockexplorer.com/q/addresstohash...
That would do the trick - I like it.  Wink
phillipsjk
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April 17, 2012, 07:51:27 PM
 #8

Best to take the SHA1 or RIPEMD160, then hash to address, and send a a bitcent to that address.  When you need to prove https://blockexplorer.com/q/addresstohash...
Or you could just use SHA-256 directly.

It won't work though. Once published, anybody can "prove" they are the author by spending the bitcents. Unless, you mean proving that you control the originating address.

Also: Proof of author rights with time from blockchain

James' OpenPGP public key fingerprint: EB14 9E5B F80C 1F2D 3EBE  0A2F B3DE 81FF 7B9D 5160
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April 17, 2012, 07:56:08 PM
 #9

Best to take the SHA1 or RIPEMD160, then hash to address, and send a a bitcent to that address.  When you need to prove https://blockexplorer.com/q/addresstohash...
Or you could just use SHA-256 directly.

It won't work though. Once published, anybody can "prove" they are the author by spending the bitcents. Unless, you mean proving that you control the originating address.

Also: Proof of author rights with time from blockchain

As long as you include the originator of the works in the hash, then it works.

For instance, I could say have a work, then sign it with a readme.txt that says "Created by SgtSpike".  I hash a zip of all the files, including the readme, and then prove that I own the works by sending a bitcent to that hashed address.
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April 18, 2012, 06:04:04 AM
 #10


It maybe better to store these kinds of hashed contracts, public keys and things in the Namecoin blockchain that has better provision for storage like this, rather than as transactions in the bitcoin blockchain. More than just domain name system it is actually better thought of as a "name" + "value" pair blockchain storage device. Also, it has essentially similar security to bitcoin since merged mining was implemented.

One way to do this, just reserve a name that makes sense to you, then when it comes to the step to map the name to an address just use the <json-value> to store your contract hash into some field  you thinks works for you, leave other things blank or you could put email, IP address info, also if you want.

http://dot-bit.org/HowToRegisterAndConfigureBitDomains
e.g.

Code:
./namecoind name_update d/<name> '<json-value>'

Here's a list of the fields that are currently set-up for domain naming purposes ... it is still a work in progress and there has been discussion about extensions to specifically cater for storage of hashes, keys, etc.

http://dot-bit.org/Domain_names#Value_field

You can then do things like transfer the ownership of the contract hash to another namecoin address, i.e. sell the IP of the contract or similar, etc.

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April 20, 2012, 12:26:33 AM
 #11

Great idea but it might be hard to explain to the judge/jurors if you ever brought a case to court.
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July 16, 2012, 01:29:10 AM
 #12

In most jurisdictions (including the US), copyright vests in the creator at the moment of creation. No registration or publication or other formality is necessary to have an ownership interest in the work.

HOWEVER, to successfully sue for statutory damages in the United States, formal registration is required. Without formal registration, a copyright owner can only sue for actual (e.g., proven at trial) damages.

Independent creation is a viable defense to a claim of copyright infringement - if you and some other person write the same poem, and neither has copied that poem from the other, each author has an independent, valid, defensible copyright in that work.

Of course, the likelihood that an identical work will be independently created by two different people who have had no contact with each other or the others' works is awfully small.

So doing complicated things like mailing yourself letters or inserting data in the blockchain is neither necessary nor sufficient to create an enforceable copyright. Those acts prove that a person had possession of a work at a particular time - but fact that a person possessed a copy of a copyrighted work at a certain time does not prove that they were its creator, or a person who held an assignment or a license from the creator. It just proves possession - which might actually turn out to be proof of infringement, not proof of creation.

marcus_of_augustus
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July 19, 2012, 11:32:12 AM
 #13


Along these lines I've been working on bringing namecoin to its full potential, that is, acting as a modern day digital equivalent role to a legal Registrar.

Open-Registrar is looking towards a user-friendly, cross-platform application of the peer-to-peer namecoin registration system.

https://github.com/randy-waterhouse/Open-Registrar

comments, inputs welcomed.

The idea is that anybody wishing to store hashes of important electronic documents, contracts, cryptographic keys, dot-bit names or whatever can.

The incorruptibility of that publicly visible (registered) data being backed by the merged-mining power from the bitcoin-namecoin network ... and obviously your own resources to keep your private keys secure.

Ever felt the ground shifting under you when you couldn't remember if that was exactly what you wrote in a document? Wondered if someone or something might have changed (hacked) your files?

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July 19, 2012, 05:50:49 PM
 #14

Very cool Marcus. I think the OP had this in mind as an alternative to the problems with the current IP and associated legal system. I wouldn't expect the current legal system to recognize, but very useful nonetheless.
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