On-Chain Copyright management PoC by ETHTurin

4 min readAug 10, 2021

The ETHTurin Meetup emerged from the community of the ETHTurin 2020 local impact hackathon and channeled into a project-oriented community throughout 2020 and 2021. Anticipating EthCC’s hot-thread on regulations and harmonization design-thinking, we worked around an existing need for an international, public system for music copyright deposit and payment, following guidelines indicated directly by representatives of the Italian SIAE and the German GEMA.

This need can be summarized as following:

  • Copyright Management is one of the hardest systems to improve, mostly due to consolidated monopolies in each country
  • There is no global database of copyright deposits (there is for artists/authors), and national CMOs (copyright management organizations) around the world are looking for a solution
  • Europe’ Digital Single Market strategy has breached through these monopolies with the 2014 EU “Barnier” Directive (‘Collective management of copyrights and the multi-territorial licensing of rights for the online use of musical works’) which opens de iure the copyright market to other non-institutional players, corporate and non profit
  • EU States have only partially implemented the directive, allowing copyright holders to choose whatever management they want, but confirming their state-owned CMOs as the only one with the mandate to mechanically collect the copyrights. In addition, some EU States governments declared that new proposing CMOs must be only non-profit
  • There is a fundamental difference between royalties and copyrights. In short, the first administers revenues coming from a given finished content-product, the latter policing the intellectual property (IP) behind that piece of original content
    e.g. using a cover version of Don’t Stop Me Now for a commercial will pay the copyright to Queen, but not the royalties since it’s not using the original recording
  • Many blockchain music startups are addressing the realm of royalties, but none have thought about solutions for depositing and collecting copyrights on-chain only

Here came our proposal as in:

  • We want to instantiate a fully decentralized CMO for the Music growing ecosystem on Ethereum
  • This on-chain CMO would not be represented by or governed by any DAO or transferrable token-based governance system, it would be a simple Registry on Ethereum
  • The participants to this registry will be all verified addresses that have contributed to the Registry successfully. The internal governance will operate via quadratic voting, with every member in possess of the same voting power
  • A reputation system would be implemented (TBD), that will allow copyright payers to acquire governance power only within that IP-stream
    e.g. I run a venue and launch a Lady Gaga Marathon (a Gagathon :)) to support the local Gay Pride. I pay the licenses for the use of Gaga’s catalog and acquire reputation within Lady Gaga’s copyright users
  • The Storage of the CMO will work via a dedicated IPFS gateway (like pinata.cloud), made of remunerated nodes run by individual CMOs (SIAE, GEMA, SACEM, SUISA, ASCAP, PRS etc.)
  • In order to minimize the occurrence of Disputes over Copyright, new deposits that harness part of the copyright (music and/or lyrics) of another composition will be able to tie-in into the previous copyright and be rewarded for their honesty. This Tie-in features will also benefit the creation of family-trees of Intellectual Property
    e.g. I copy “Message in a Bottle” guitar riff for a reggaeton-style hit, and tie my song deposit to Sting’s original, thus creating an IP stream where both the songs benefit over time
  • Disputes that may occur with precedents deposit may be resolved either via CMO members voting or via legal instance to juridical DAOs like JUR.

The Dapp

On the 21st of June we launched the HackDeLaMusique and gave this blueprint a touch of reality. Here are the main features of our PoC:

  • Alice, Bob and Charlie create a Multisig wallet and set their shares for the ownership of Song copyright
  • Alice uploads the content package (featuring the recording, the score, lyrics sheet and any additional document) for Song on IPFS
  • the Multisig approves the package, the shares and deploys the Registry contract (which is payable), an additional fee goes to the IPFS gateway for storing the content
  • Debbie wants to use the copyright of Song, pays the Registry contract
  • The Multisig receives the payment and splits it among A,B and C according to the established shares
  • Depending on the kind of license purchased, Debbie receives a different reputation ERC1155

Support our ETHTurin Multisigs:
Ethereum Mainnet: 0xdF5F3eb665952DAa6De7E520B57BdA322E22D4ba
xDAI: 0xDcB65474Ac3CC31226929c1795A7CB641668b82b

Get in touch: hello@ethturin.com
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