Incoherence, multiplied: Sony announces nebulous "blockchain for DRM"


Originally published at:


“Sony also implies that every transaction in which someone buys a creative work will end up in the ledger.”

So - it’s a plan to bring back record stores? Pay in those weird green thingies.


Everyone has got their favorite “beanie baby” fetish they want blockchain to fuel. This seems like a solid example of mathematical innumeracy making people gullible.

Yet blockchains still seems like it would be useful for election tabulation. And what if blockchain could be used to anonymously pay for sex work? It might also help manage reputations for Johns and providers, something that the workers would benefit from a lot.


Sony became such a shitty company after buying Columbia Pictures and became a content company. Pretty much every innovative consumer electronic device they developed since had some crappy DRM system tacked on. They probably regret their name is on the home taping court cases defending the practice.

I hope Apple does not become a large content company for this very reason. They’d probably end up walking back the few anti-DRM policies they do have.


But wait! No - wait! It has blockchain in it, right? That’s like Ben Gibbard serenading Amanda Palmer levels of cool, right? That’s not just a banana - it’s Bananas in Pajamas! It’s cool right?


Well, fraudulent DMCA takedown notices from automated scanners are pretty common… but would not be at all protected by “blockchain”.


So, aside from the choice of a perversely expensive database, can anyone detect something here that wasn’t laid out in 1994?


(indeed, given the recent bloodbath in cryptocurrency and blockchain, and the widespread public hostility to DRM, this feels more like tossing an anchor to a drowning victim).

The drowning victim here is as useful and beneficial to society as dengue, so I see nothing wrong with the anchor. Carry on, Sony.


Is this your beanie baby?


Actually my beanie baby is preference voting. The blockchain is just my amazon.


Oh hi, I’d like to register 100,000 tracks of my Random Musick in your blockchain, thx, k’bye.


People who lawfully acquire copyrighted works have the right to sell them, lend them, and give them away

I have a feeling that in Sony’s model, you would not ‘acquire’ a copyrighted work, you would acquire a license with some hefty restrictions…


Yeah, really, the first thing I thought was “oh goody, 127 of 128 bytes will be blockchain, one random byte hidden in it will be the data.” It’s like getting a book mail order, “some assembly required”, that is mailed to you as individual postcards.


While the comic @reactionabe posted is really funny, distributed ledger tech is a perfect fit for voting. I am especially enamored of the option to use permissioned blockchain tech to allow citizen groups to serve as automated watchdogs for the process.

I mean, obviously, you’d want a paper trail as well, especially in the first few runs, and you’d want it all engineered very carefully and open sourced to hell and back (I’d insist on the hardware being open-source, too, just in case) but it does have great potential.

It’s sad, really, distributed ledger technology is a great advance in cryptographic protocol engineering but it gets used as snake oil way too much. It is also connected to crypto-currencies which are the dumbest use of this technology, too, which is particularly galling.

For DRM, though, there’s nothing for it to do. Ownership of copyrighted works isn’t in question and isn’t contentious. Enforcement of this ownership is the issue, esp. how it interacts with fair use and the right to control your own hardware.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.