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U.S. Commerce Department Eyes Digital Copyright Blockchain

The U.S. Commerce Department has scheduled a meeting to discuss potential applications of the blockchain to digital copyright, in a move which could overhaul the handling of copyright and privacy on the Internet in future.

The department’s Internet task force is behind the event, which will see representations from across industry sectors on ways of implementing blockchain technology in digital rights handling in future.

The event, which is to be livestreamed online direct from Silicon Valley, draws on expertise from a number of other departments, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Internal Trade Administration.

According to the agenda for the event, discussions will center around applications relating to digital registration, and secure rights transfer as it applies to media and content online.

"We will discuss the potential for interoperability across digital registries and standards work in this field, and consider the relevant emerging technologies (e.g. blockchain technology, open-source platforms). We will also explore potential approaches to guide their adoption and integration into the online marketplace."

The move from the U.S. Commerce Department follows a growing trend among blockchain startups, with many focusing extensively on applications around digital rights management and protecting content creators.

The U.S. Commerce Department has previously signalled its intent in utilizing blockchain technology, and it is hoped that the event could be a springboard for further implementation of these innovations across different industry sectors.

Some analysts are suggesting this could spell the start of a shift in direction for creative and media industries, searching for viable improvements to handling copyrighted data and protecting their rights in the digital age.

With the event scheduled for Friday, the findings will be hotly anticipated by the growing number of startups in the blockchain space, as they compete to develop new practical applications of these technologies.

It remains to be seen whether the event, and increasing cooperation between state and private-sector interests, can lead to a fundamentally new approach to handling digital copyright via the blockchain.

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