Microsoft and Alibaba start Ethereum project

Internet piracy is becoming a growing problem worldwide – also for Microsoft and Alibaba. A new Ethereum project is now supposed to help.

Bad news for pirates: The two IT giants Microsoft and Alibaba are cooperating with Carnegie Mellon University in the fight against Internet piracy. They rely on blockchain technology, or more precisely: on Ethereum. The cooperation is called Argus, named after the hundred-eyed giant from Greek mythology.

With Ethereum against internet pirates

The Argus whitepaper describes four roles that are essential to the project. Once the “copyright holder” (for example a film producer). The “licensee” who receives the rights of use (for example cinemas) from the owner. The “infringer”: He violates copyright law. After all, the “informants” are those who report a copyright violation. The aim of Argus is to “create incentives for the general public to report the pirated copies to the system”.

Each of the four roles is different and each has its own specific interests. The aim is to get tips from the public on how to prevent pirated content. Informants give a tip that someone is illegally distributing pirated content. Mechanisms such as Ethereum-based watermarks make it possible to curb Internet piracy. In addition, Microsoft classifies Ethereum technology as safe. Microsoft says about the project:

(…) In particular, we draw the following conclusions: (1) It is feasible to develop a completely transparent solution without introducing a trustworthy role. This could enable a paradigm shift for anti-piracy incentive solutions. In addition, Argus represents a convincing application scenario for a public blockchain (…) (3) in addition to the logical robustness, the solution is also economically feasible due to our effective optimizations.

Argus white paper

Billions in damage every year through Internet piracy

Internet piracy remains a pressing issue. Every year, pirated video is viewed over 230 billion times. As a result, the US economy alone loses between 29 and 71 billion US dollars in revenue every year. The film industry, for example, is particularly susceptible to piracy. Statistics estimate that the annual global revenue loss from digital piracy is between $ 40 billion and $ 97.1 billion. But it’s not just economic damage, it is estimated that around 70,000 jobs are lost to music piracy in the United States every year.

Should the project pick up speed, this three alliance could possibly also tackle problems from the analogue world. For example, the crypto company VeChain is working on making clothing forgery-proof. A similar advance has already been made by the luxury fashion label LVMH, which also relies on Ethereum.

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