The Use of Blockchain to Bolster Copyright Protection in Canada

  • February 24, 2020
  • Michelle Noonan and Hashim Ghazi, Deeth Williams Wall LLP

A group of Canadian associations[1] are collaborating, to develop a public blockchain registry. The registry, called “Imprimo”, will allow artists to register and enforce their copyright to ensure that value and benefit are gained in their work.

Blockchain is a digitized ledger of online transactions that records and stores information that is verifiable, public, and permanent. The transactions are written in “blocks”, permanently linked together by cryptography to create a “chain”. These “blocks” of data are stored on “nodes”, which are devices, such as computers, that are connected to each other. A key component of blockchain technology is that it is decentralized, meaning the information is stored and updated independently by each node of the network. This, coupled with its repetition by way of independent verification by each node, makes the system immutable and, for the most part, resistant to tampering.

The use of blockchain in Imprimo addresses the issue of attribution. An attribution ledger will allow artists to register their work and develop a trusted and authoritative record of ownership and attribution. The attribution ledger will create a database of works that promote artists’ ability to verify their works and assert their rights.