Microsoft Plans to Use the Ethereum Blockchain to Combat Piracy

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Microsoft Plans to Use the Ethereum Blockchain to Combat Piracy
Microsoft Plans to Use the Ethereum Blockchain to Combat Piracy

Microsoft developers of the  Windows operating system and the Office Productivity Suite have worked flat out to formulate anti-piracy measures. Not surprisingly, they have always been the best on any software piracy platform.

Microsoft Study Relies on the Transparency of Blockchain Technology

In a new paper published by Microsoft Research with the participation of researchers from Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon University, the Redmond-based software giant examined a blockchain-based incentive system to support anti-piracy activities.

As the title of the study “Argus: A Completely Transparent Incentive System for Anti-Piracy Activities” shows, Microsoft’s new system relies on the transparency of blockchain technology. Argus is based on the Ethereum blockchain and aims to provide a trust-free incentive mechanism while protecting the data collected by open anonymous pirated journalists.

“We think this is a distributed system problem,” says the paper, “during implementation we overcame a number of inevitable obstacles to ensure security, albeit completely transparently.”

Argus Based on the Ethereum Blockchain

Argus can use the appropriate watermarking algorithm described in the paper to trace the pirated content back to the source. Also known as a “Leakage Certificate”, each report of leaked content includes a program to hide information. This way, no one other than the whistleblower can report the same watermarked copy without actually owning it.

The system also has safeguards in place to reduce incentives to prevent informants from repeatedly reporting the same leaked content under different pseudonyms. “Given the security and practicality of Argus, we hope that real-world anti-piracy activities will be really effective by moving to a fully transparent incentive mechanism,” the report said.

The paper detailed the issue of Ethereum network fees and stated that the team had optimized a number of cryptographic operations “to reduce the cost of piracy reports to the equivalent of sending about 14 ETH transfer transactions over the public Ethereum network, otherwise it equates to thousands of transactions. “

Global technology companies are increasingly focusing on protecting intellectual property and fighting digital piracy. In a previous report, Tech Mahindra, an IT subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group, recently introduced a new blockchain-based digital contract and rights platform for the media and entertainment industry as part of IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric agreement.