Blockai, a San Francisco, Calif.-based technology company, has developed a copyright service that uses the bitcoin blockchain to allow artists to protect their creative work in the digital age.

Blockai CertificateWhile the Internet has unleashed a wealth of opportunities for creative work, protecting content has posed a big challenge, especially for independent producers of digital art, literature and even computer software.

Tapping Artificial Intelligence

“We are developing artificial intelligence to create unique fingerprints for all copyrighted works to protect copyrights and make sure artists get paid,” Nathan Lands, CEO and co-founder of Blockai, told CNN. “Kind of like Youtube’s Content ID system for the entire Internet. We’re starting with images, but eventually will work for video, music and every type of copyrighted work.”

Lands noted in a Medium blog that copyright is expensive, registration is time-consuming, and it historically has mainly benefited large corporations. Most artists, he stated, cannot afford to register with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Registering copyrights with Blockai is free and will remain so, Land stated.

BLockai artist profile image

How It Works

Registered artists can drop their creative images on the Blockai website to find out who is using their work.

When an artist registers a copyright, Blockai writes a permanent timestamp on the bitcoin blockchain. This provides proof of publishing to protect the copyright. It provides a basis for cease and desist letters or Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) removal notices.

Once an artist registers a work, Blockai searches the web to find matches for the work to identify violations. The system will become more robust with time to support more file types. Blockai will also provide actions to take against violations.

Artists will have a user profile showing all copyrights and matches. The profile will allow artists to join forces to take action against violators.

Also read: How the blockchain is changing the music business

Making Copyrights Useful

Blockai’s mission is to gather all copyrighted data and make it useful. It will provide a resource to allow people to know who is the author of every file on the web and how they can pay the author.

Lands believes the future for creative work can be more fulfilling. Artists will be able to earn a good living by publishing to the web. Websites will profit from creative works and share earnings with artists.

“We think you’ll be surprised how many places your work is mis(used) without you even knowing about it,” he noted.

Images from Blockai.