Business on the Blockchain: Sony & Digital Rights Management – Ep. 008

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 49 seconds

Sony has been one of the most popular consumer technology brands for a good while now. They are Japanese based, but no matter where you live, you’ve likely heard of them. Whether it be the Walkman or the PlayStation, Sony has cemented itself as a giant in technological innovation, over the span of several decades.

They are constantly trying to create technology that will address today’s problems. The issue that Sony has turned to use the blockchain to solve? Representing digital rights.

Sony Turns to the Blockchain

On April 26th, 2018 a patent was published, and it revealed that Sony had applied to use blockchain technology as a means of tracking digital rights. They have named it the Blockchain-Based Digital Rights Management (DRM) System. By implementing an immutable blockchain, ownership could be imprinted via a transaction, permanently placing this information across multiple nodes.

Dangers of Centralization

So why is this better than current system of keeping track of digital rights, or really ownership in general?

This information is usually kept in centralized servers with a single point of failure. If that server fails or is damaged? Well all of that information might be compromised. The fact that companies use third parties to store this data brings up another problematic scenario. What if the company storing the data goes out of business. There may be very little recourse for digital rights holders if either of these things happen.

And this is exactly why a digital rights based blockchain makes sense.

Any bit of information can be imprinted on the blockchain via a transaction. Once the block that holds the transaction data is confirmed, it’s right there on the blockchain forever. You don’t have to worry about a single point of failure, because this ownership data would be broadcast to every computer running and maintaining that blockchain.

Quickly going over the specifics, a user provides their public key as a means of application. The publisher would then verify that the user had the correct private key, indicating true ownership of the work.

With the way media has gone towards what I like to call the “YouTube model,” we have seen many issues pop up when it comes to ownership of content. Currently, YouTube does provide the option to claim monetization if someone re-uploads your content, but that process is still loosely defined. Sony’s ecosystem could clarify ownership, resolving disputes before they even occur. Take that legal costs! And that’s a big reason why Sony is advancing business on the blockchain!


Business on the Blockchain is a new series aimed at keeping you up to date on all of the big business moves towards blockchain technology. More and more businesses are exploring cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and we’re here to help you understand how some of these businesses are making this transition. It’s an exciting time for blockchain adoption, check out which businesses are jumping onto the wave!

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