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US Commerce Department to Discuss Blockchain Copyright

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on December 5, 2016 at 15:00 BST
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The US Commerce Department is hosting an event that will see discussion on how blockchain tech could be applied to digital copyright.

Scheduled for Friday, the event is being organized by the department’s Internet Task Force, which draws support from the US Patent and Trademark Organization (USTPO), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The group was founded to explore a range of issues, from copyrights to digital privacy and cybersecurity.

The Commerce Department will be hosting a livestream of the event, a link to which can be found here. According to an agenda published by the Commerce Department, the event is being held at the USPTO’s Silicon Valley office.

The discussion is perhaps not a surprise given the idea that blockchain tech can play a role in digital copyright is being explored by a number of startups. The idea is that creative works can be linked to a transaction or digitized asset on an immutable ledger. From there, the provenance of that work can be traced to its origin.

The one-day gathering, which begins at 13:30 UTC, will include a panel session on "registries and rights expression languages", a discussion that is expected to focus on the use of blockchain tech.

Subsequent breakout sessions will feature blockchain and smart contracts as topics of discussion. And while no specific projects have been listed, the event will include a half-hour technology preview.

The department said in its release:

"We will discuss the potential for interoperability across digital registries and standards work in this field, and consider the relevant emerging technologies (eg, blockchain technology, open-source platforms). We will also explore potential approaches to guide their adoption and integration into the online marketplace."

Though the event signals the Commerce Department’s first public foray into the tech, its representatives have made overtures to the industry. Last summer, representatives from the department notably attended an industry retreat at Bretton Woods.

Image via Shutterstock

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