You may or may not understand the full inner workings of how blockchain works – but to put it simply, a blockchain is a collection of data. The chain is created by adding these blocks in chronological and sequential order to each other. Blockchain is most widely associated with the use of Cryptocurrency, however Audius is a blockchain based music streaming service.
It promises to be an “alternative to SoundCloud” by helping artists publish, commercialise and distribute their music. However, their use of blockchain may cause issues when dealing with infringing works.
Users will be allowed to upload whatever content they wish as there is no system in place to catch potential infringing copies. This means there is a risk of individual users uploading infringing works. Audius also state that they have no power to remove infringing copies.
Usually, in this situation, the website who was hosting the infringing works would be liable. However, by using blockchain Audius does not host the content as it uses blockchain to store the audio content and images. This is basically means the users on the network host the music and not Audius.
The mere fact that Audius does not host the infringing music may not help them evade liability in the courts. However, it may cause an issue for individual up-and-coming artists who find their music being infringed on Audius. If Audius cannot remove infringing copies of artists works, who does the responsibility fall to? Another issue is how do you identify who is hosting the infringing works if it is spread across all users?
With Audius launching its public beta last week, we will have to see if Audius is successful in putting artists in control of their music, or if it opens them up to infringing copies of their music being uploaded with an uphill struggle trying to get those infringing copies removed.
If you would like advice in relation to copyright infringement or want to know your legal position regarding the ownership of your works, please do not hesitate to contract us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020728 860 003 for a free consultation.
Written by Ceyda Sam, Solicitor