Democracy of self expression could ruin copyright

Nowadays the market for art is increasing its power thanks to social networks and platforms that allow anyone to express and publish their artistic creations on the web.

Omitting the fact that we cannot always define those creations as ART, the democracy of self expression is growing up.

But on the other hand - with this system, on the web - anyone can save or copy content, cheating the real author.

The choice is yours

You are surfing on Instagram and you see a very beautiful pic of the sunset.

You can share it with the name of the real author OR you can take a screenshot, cut the signature and pretend it is yours.

The choice is yours.

What’s the solution?

To solve this problem there is the Blockchain, a digital archive where everything can be stored and it could be used to track and verify ownership through something like contracts.

“The blockchain allows a seal of authenticity on transactions. This means a potential replacement of existing payment systems as money and credit cards, but also a revolution for all those entities that provide centralized transactions, such as notaries, banks, public records and governments too”, said SiamoSoci CEO and BlockchainLab member Dario Giudici.

Dario Giudici, SiamoSoci CEO and BlockchainLab member

Thought about in this way, the blockchain could be the answer to one of the most important problems in the art market: authenticity and copyright.

In fact blockchain technology promises to unleash more value in the art market by extending provenance and security.

“Artists, especially new artists that work in digital, will need the blockchain more and more to monetize their work in various ways. As the saying goes, the Internet is the biggest Xerox machine on earth and rights management is key to sustaining creative output. One company doing this pretty well is Monegraph in New York City. They are leveraging the Blockchain's functionality to execute contracts, payments, rights retention and even paid distribution discreetly, indelibly, and securely.

As far as galleries go, we're still working out how the Blockchain can be helpful to them. Clearly there are basic applications such as title and ownership but I think the traction in that will come perhaps not from the galleries themselves but from the peripheral and support businesses such as title insurance, ownership for financing purposes, and the like. Even as I say this I know that these particular cases are the just the beginning of the unbundling of value in the art space”, said Agentic Group Founder & Managing Director Rik Willard.

So, what if Instagram used the Blockchain?

A photographer can have information about his photos, knowing where and when they have been published all around the net.

This is a precious service, because daily anyone can simply save a picture or copy an article and sign it with their name: a serious copyright infringement at this point.

Maybe Instagram will consider using the blockchain to create a more trusted and more monetizable industry.

“It would be a major value add for their vast store of graphic arts and photos. It would open up exciting new revenue streams for them and would completely revolutionize -- and probably save -- their business”, commented Rik Willard.


Valentine Ruhry and Andy Boot created Cointemporary, a digital gallery that exhibits online artworks by contemporary artists from all over the world.

Cointemporary displays one piece of art at a time for ten days each or until it is purchased. Also they decided to sell these pieces of art online accepting bitcoin as the only method of payment and all the artworks purchased will be entered into the Blockchain through Ascribe.


Abscribe uses the Blockchain to create an ownership structure for artworks and digital media in general; this is a whole new way to assign intellectual property.

Ascribe also have a new program, Where on the Net, that allows artists to follow their own creations on Internet.

At the beginning, Ascribe planned WhereOnTheNet to be exclusively for Ascribe users and digital content providers. But then they realized that a significantly large number of artists worldwide are suffering from copyright-related issues so they decided to provide public access to WhereOnTheNet.

“When starting Ascribe we asked ourselves  questions like how do you share your digital work without losing attribution and control and how do you track provenance of digital file?

Ultimately, the question became how do we solve the question “where’s my stuff?” online.

Traditional digital rights management (DRM) options like watermarking or encryption just don’t work and were failing digital artists DRM is fighting the physics of bits. WhereOnTheNet is a part of Ascribe’s digital ownership vision and we offer is a technology based solution that reconciles the physics of bits. ascribe empowers digital creators through immutable attribution by registering work on the blockchain,clear licensing with baked in contracts for the easy transfer of rights and then finally visibility”, said  Ascribe Co-founder Maria McConaghy.

 Maria McConaghy, Ascribe Co-founder

“We are also expanding our cryptographic Certificates of Authenticity (COA) use cases. As the scale of our users has increased, we've identified the need for scalable blockchain technology so stay tuned for more on that”, she continued.