Re-Thinking Rights – New Models of IP Ownership & Distribution
June 15, 2022
LaSource, a sports B2B agency based in Paris, focused on sport, digital and technology have shared their thoughts on how rights are changing within the world of web3.
It’s no surprise that in our fast changing world, many industries, including the sports one, are eagerly examining blockchain technology.
Indeed, the rise of Web3 and its digital stack of new technologies could open up a wide range of opportunities for sports rightsholders and their media partners. Not only could blockchain enable them to better control their IP, it could also lead to new efficient and transparent ways of monetizing it.
“That way of registering new IP could benefit sports organizations in various aspects, from basic assets to specific activations involving clubs, sponsors and athletes.”
This exciting topic will be discussed during our upcoming Web3 Summit in London, and here are some elements which will be discussed.
Using Blockchain as IP Registery
Nowadays, getting a patent or registering trademark can be a long and tumultuous process. Blockchain could drastically simplify it. As suggested by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the creation of smart contracts in the blockchain could “provide evidence of a time stamp of first or subsequent use of a trademark, which could then be presented to the court/registry as evidence.”
“One of the main perks of this would be a more controlled environment for media rights and transactions between owners and buyers.”
That way of registering new IP could benefit sports organizations in various aspects, from basic assets to specific activations involving clubs, sponsors and athletes.
Better Controlling IP: Proof Of Ownership
One of the main blockchain characteristics is the creation of a secured environment with a record of every transaction made on it. If you think about it, this could offer an ideal place for any sport organisation to catalog and store all their assets and creations in a very simple way. Any future issues around the ownership chain would be easily identified through the blockchain’s timestamp. One of the main perks of this would be a more controlled environment for media rights and transactions between owners and buyers.
As we all know, the sports rights market has become increasingly carved up. Linear TV viewing is slowly but surely decreasing as fans are digesting clip-form content on their smartphones and live streams over social media. To counteract this market fragmentation, many resort to illegal streaming and other piracy and copyright infringements using peer-to-peer networks that are almost impossible to control. Blockchain could have the potential to resolve any number of these complex and costly legal issues. It could help rights owners to protect the rights they have bought.
Better monetising IP with blockchain
Coming back to our previous example on sports broadcasting rights, rightsholders could even use the blockchain network not only to facilitate but also develop new monetization model with micropayments. Becoming more and more accustomed to “digital” business models, sports fans are switching from monthly subscription model to a “per-use” payment model.
Thanks to blockchain, the distribution and monetization of bitesized content could become much more fluid and prevalent. Blockchain-enabled micropayments could help sports right holders to better monetise all their catalog, from entire events to highlights and other small snackable content.
Web3’s legal issues
Businesses will increasingly adopt Web3 technologies. For companies or other entities entering into this space, it is essential to understand the many legal issues that may arise.
For sports organisations, blockchain technology and the metaverse offers many products to engage with fans, such as avatars, NFT Marketplaces, advertising, etc. It will be crucial for leagues to understand which laws apply to what products, but above all to give a legal statement of what they are and under which asset inventory they can fall into.
Let’s take the example of avatars. Some topics could be discussed, such as the right of publicity. The intellectual property issues related to the rights of players and their avatars, but also the legal protection of the avatars in a metaverse. Consequently, if a league seeks to transfer its sports ecosystem into the Metaverse, it must consider and prepare well these rights to avoid legal disputes.
“From a practical perspective, depending on the design of the network, blockchain technology could be expensive to implement and run.”
As outlined above, blockchain could offer the sports industry innovative ways to manage and leverage their IP. However, it is not an easy way forward. From a practical perspective, depending on the design of the network (including whether the network is set up to be public or private), blockchain technology could be expensive to implement and run. The power required to run the network should also be considered and be balanced with the value it can generate. Finally, moving from a centralized model to a decentralized one can be too idealistic and it might need some intermediate and regulatory steps, evolving into a hub-based metaverse.
All of this is definitely to come as it is very much in the early stages and everything still needs to be built. We can’t wait our event to happen in order to tackle these topics more in depth with leading experts.
Find out more from LaSource at our iSportConnect Web3 Summit presented by Tezos at Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium later this month, follow this link for more information and to get your tickets now – https://www.web3summit.sport/