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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Ahead of the Game


The advance of the internet has made a disruptive change of the world's information society. The breakthrough of internet-based blockchain technology (or decentralized ledger technology) can bring about a disruptive change of business models. Visionaries have identified the trend and have formed powerful coalitions to strategize ahead.

The challenge upon potential stakeholders is whether they could recognise the trend to liberate and collaborate their capacity to capitalize on it as the pie is big. Those who are ahead of the game and assume the inherent risk could have the first mover advantage such as standard setting. There are however others who prefer to play safe and be fair followers.

As the impact of the blockchain technology on businesses can be disruptive, I anticipate the conventional resistance to change would be great. One way to get a smooth transition in is to deploy the blockchain technology to solve problems that have never been satisfactorily resolved before. One example in the copyright context is to enable web customers to pay, and right holders to collect, copyright royalties for the use of copyright works in a direct, many-to-many, and really cost-effective fashion.

Buyers would like to pay the authentic sellers. While the general issue of self-sovereign identity is yet to be resolved, I think the service of any blockchained copyright depositary would help as the chain of evidence is hard to break and the author of the original work is also the first owner of the work under general law. Jurisdictional laws permitting, I think there is also the possibility to deploy blockchain technology to securitize bundles of intangible copyright works, as they are worth investing in the digital economy!

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