Tech Mahindra launches royalties platform for entertainment industry on IBM Blockchain

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Major India IT services firm Tech Mahindra has announced a blockchain-enabled platform designed to protect the rights of content creators and producers, initially targeting video.

The system, known as the Blockchain Based Contracts and Rights Management System (bCRMS) was developed using IBM’s blockchain platform, which leverages the open-source Hyperledger Fabric enterprise blockchain. It is focused on streamlining processes involved in contracts and royalties as well as helping to prevent piracy.

Tech Mahindra is deploying bCRMS for both linear broadcast and Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers such as video streaming platforms.

The fragmentation of media and entertainment (M&E) has resulted in a marked rise in piracy and fraud related to M&E content. This was the chief issue Tech Mahindra sought to address and mentions of it echo throughout a recent statement made by Rajesh Dhuddu, who is Blockchain and Cybersecurity Practice Leader there. In particular, he referenced an estimate made by software firm Intertrust that online piracy will lead to a $50 billion loss in revenue for entertainment companies by 2022.

A key aim is to give the content a recognizable digital fingerprint so it can be traced. Hence, using techniques such as hashing and forensic watermarking, the bCRMS platform allows M&E firms to track and trace where their content has been distributed. Tech Mahindra hopes this will allow such firms to limit unauthorized access to and redistribution of licensed content. 

The platform provides an immutable audit trail and gives service providers highly accurate statistics on download and streaming numbers. bCRMS also streamlines and automates royalty payments.

The platform can “orchestrate the entire media content life cycle workflows across pre-production, post-production and distribution phases to enhance revenues,” said Dhuddu. 

Tech Mahindra said that bCRMS could be used in other sectors such as “trade, finance and healthcare that have a requirement for intellectual property and secured digital content”.

This field is already filled with competitors serving different niches. As Ledger Insights reported in 2018, Microsoft and EY have developed a versatile system that manages content rights and royalties in gaming.

More recently, Italy’s copyright body SIAE released a blockchain model that allows artists to more easily track royalties, while Canadian firms GuildOne and Beatdapp announced a deal that helps to create better streaming analytics for music apps.

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