Image ownership in the internet age is a slippery proposition, with creators previously relying heavily on their fellow web-users to respect their intellectual property. But now a German startup called Ascribe is enabling artists and writers to create unique, trackable, digital copies of their work and verify that it is the definitive version, theoretically protecting it from duplication or unlicensed use.
Ascribe helps users register, archive, transfer and track their digital creations, letting them prove the authenticity of their work through official cryptographic certificates, which details the file’s ownership history. To begin, users upload their digital file — any photograph, painting, text, animated gif, logo or other creation — and register themselves as the artist. Ascribe then creates an unbreakable link between the user and their work — a timestamped cryptographic ID which is attached to the file on a public database, which takes the form of a blockchain. Users can then rent or loan their work simply by sending an email — managing their intellectual property is made as easy as making a Paypal money transfer. Ascribe will also maintain all the files stored in their cloud, updating them to the latest file formats and use a web crawler to search out illegitimate copies.
Are there other uses for the blockchain model?