Sony applies for blockchain-based digital rights management patent


Marking yet another international technology giant that has signaled its interest in blockchain, Japanese conglomerate Sony has filed a new patent application describing a proprietary blockchain-based digital rights management system.

The firm, which has plays in both consumer technology as well as entertainment media, has now lodged a new filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Within, the marque explains that present digital rights management (DRM) solutions “may not be very reliable and rely on one unique point of failure. If the rights locker provider or system goes out of business or otherwise fails, the user loses all the acquired content.”

The proposed patent outlines a solution wherein digital rights management information could be stored, and end-users could authenticate and subsequently use content that they had purchased.

Principally, the system would involve a structure wherein a user’s digital media rights are recorded on a dedicated blockchain. Genesis blocks accommodate baseline information about a user, and subsequent blocks record purchases, user agreements, and content data.

In the patent, Sony describes that a “DRM computer system would verify the rights in the blockchain and then decrypt the media when needed. This computer system can take different forms, including a “DRM agent”.

Interestingly, the patent has been filed by both Sony and Sony Pictures Entertainment, indicating that the Japanese firm may ultimately be one of the first vendors to leverage blockchain technology in the entertainment industry.

Given the firm’s catalogue – which consists of music and other entertainment ventures beyond film – the company elaborates that the use of the patent could extend to “various types of content or other data, such as movies, television, video, music, audio, games, scientific data, medical data, etc.”

Sony, however, is not the only consumer technology brand exploring the applicability of blockchain technology. Earlier this year, Chinese giant Huawei filed a patent for its own digital rights platform, while imaging marque Kodak has similarly issued plans for its KodakOne platform that would target image rights management.

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