Alibaba Patents Blockchain System That Spots Music Copycats

The e-commerce giant has patented a blockchain-based means of vetting the originality of songs.

AccessTimeIconApr 30, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:08 a.m. UTC

Alibaba has patented a blockchain-based means of vetting the originality of songs.

Granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 21, the process as described by the Chinese e-commerce giant addresses one of the recording industry’s major issues – protecting the copyright of music tracks – by hosting and vetting that content on a blockchain.

  • Meme Coin Liquidity Hits Record High
    00:46
    Meme Coin Liquidity Hits Record High
  • How Ledger Stax Plans to Make Self-Custody More Mainstream
    16:42
    How Ledger Stax Plans to Make Self-Custody More Mainstream
  • Why Dogecoin Is a 'Weird' Investment
    16:39
    Why Dogecoin Is a 'Weird' Investment
  • AI Tokens Surge as Nvidia Becomes World’s Most Valuable Company
    00:47
    AI Tokens Surge as Nvidia Becomes World’s Most Valuable Company
  • One validation node and multiple music library nodes comprise the blockchain. The validation node performs “originality analysis” on a music track to evaluate how similar its tune, tempo and other factors such as lyrics and beat are to other tracks in the library. 

    This data is published to the blockchain and summarized in a second vetting report that also includes a similarity ratio. Ultimately, the process yields a recommendation on the track’s originality from a plurality of nodes.

    Alibaba claims this method of song vetting could help stymie copycats whose meddling with the files skirts existing copyright safeguards, including hash coding music files to prove their authenticity, by stealing the sound itself.

    “Currently, there is still no platform that can be used to perform a similarity analysis on musical works to identify plagiarized or imitated” songs, Alibaba wrote. That hole is wide enough for copycats to conceivably exploit. 

    Blockchain-based originality analysis can “alleviate” the problem, Alibaba said. It also universalizes the solution, as music libraries from around the world can all act as distributed nodes. 

    Alibaba envisions smart contracts running the originality reports in one iteration. 

    “The smart contract is executed with less human intervention and advantageous decentralized authority, and fairness of the music originality analysis behavior is further improved,” it said.

    Disclosure

    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.