On July 26, two Spanish institutions, the Madrid School of Telecommunications Engineering and the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers, announced a partnership to research blockchain technology solutions for digital copyright management. The university and the copyright collective have agreed to a one-year contract to collaborate on researching the implementation of blockchain technology, machine learning, Big Data Analytics and artificial intelligence applications to build a digital processing platform to manage copyright. This digital platform is particularly intended to strengthen protection of both audiovisual and musical copyrighted content on the internet. This Spanish research collaboration follows in the wake of the Open Music Initiative, a collaboration between the Berklee College of Music and MIT, similarly announcing an objective to develop a blockchain-based platform to aid digital rights management for copyright holders. Chinese companies ZhongAn Technology and WENN Digital are likewise exploring blockchain solutions for digital rights management. ZhongAn has filed for a patent on a blockchain-based platform to help prevent unauthorized use of copyrighted material, while WENN licensed Kodak's blockchain technology to develop a digital rights management platform. In addition, in March, Intel applied for a patent on a blockchain solution to identify, authenticate and record digital content that is subject to copyright protection. Intel's patent appears to focus on images and video, although other types of content are also mentioned as additional features. The fact that so many institutions around the world are confident in blockchain's potential bodes well for the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers, which hopes that utilizing the emerging technologies will enable it to better protect its artists and address new challenges posed in the digital age by diversity, volume and changing dynamics in content usage. The Spanish research collaboration comes quickly on the heels of the government of the Spanish autonomous community Catalonia announcing its intentions to implement blockchain solutions for its administrative activities, as well as Spanish banking institution Banco Santander announcing its intention to research blockchain applications for securities trading.
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