The Missing Link Between Blockchain and Copyright: How Companies Are Using New Technology to Misinform Creators and Violate Federal Law

January 23, 2018
Blockchain technology has been hailed as a world-altering breakthrough that will change the ways information is stored, contracts are executed, and transactions are made. Blockchains are being integrated into a myriad of industries, but the law has been slow to respond to these implementations. However, this has not stopped supemerging companies, like Ascribe,1 from trumpeting blockchain as the new platform for copyright protection. Although buzz about the technology is fairly recent and its potential applications are far from fully understood, startups are trying to capitalize early on blockchain’s potential by offering users services that are misleading and, sometimes, illegal. This Recent Development highlights the danger of companies that purport to offer copyright registration and protection absent any supporting legal authority. In particular, Ascribe—a company claiming to be a one-stop-shop for copyright—offers services that violate the Copyright Act of 1976. This Recent Development discusses why Ascribe fails to deliver any transparency regarding copyright ownership and protection and calls upon Ascribe to change its business model to comply with current laws.