Web3 and Blockchain impact on stock footage and IP assets

In today’s world, the concept of ownership for digital assets is a topic that is vastly spoken about. Intellectual property ownership, content ownership, and distribution, along with the age-old copyright protection laws, are pressing matters at hand that need to be addressed in a way that fits the digital age.

Thanks to blockchain technology and Web3, all this can change. As we embark on an interlinked digital generation, rights ownership is set to see massive disruption.

Web3 and blockchain technology is bringing in change, and that change is coming faster than we can expect.

A new boom

The advent of blockchain technology is pivoting the internet into a brand new era. Towards the early 1990’s it was the Dot-com-boom or the internet boom that everyone was excited about. In the post-2000 age, it would be the Web3 technologies that will interconnect our lives to the digital world.

Until now, every transaction on the internet had a governing body. It can be a company or a payment gateway between the two parties to ensure that both parties are verified in the transaction and a security level.

This involvement was not just limited to financial transactions but every single digital transaction. Think about the last time you made a purchase of a stock image or a video.

You brought it from a creator who had listed it on an intermediary. While you were purchasing it from the creator who published the work, the intermediary overlooked the transaction and received a fee for the service.

But very soon, and it is happening as we speak, these intermediaries will be obsolete, and the mechanisms that we assumed were not only necessary but mandatory will be gone forever.

What is Web3?

The web has evolved over the years and what we use today is unrecognizable from the internet’s early days. The web’s evolution is categorized into three eras — Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0.

Currently, the world is transitioning from Web 2.0 to Web3.

Understanding Web3 is simple — it is the internet that we see today with a few added characteristics.

Web3 is:

  • Verifiable
  • Trustless
  • Self-governing
  • Permissionless
  • Stateful
  • Native built-in payments

In other terms, it is referred to as the next generation of the web. Adapted by the Ethereum ecosystem, Web3 is referred to as the decentralized web. Web3 is Web 2.0 without centralized servers and storage.

Therefore, Web3 applications do not run on a single server or depend on one service provider like it is today. Instead, Web3 operates on blockchains, with no server across the decentralized peer-to-peer network nodes.

Rather than channeling through intermediaries, Web3 creates one-to-one connections in a secure form.

When you hear Web3, cryptocurrency becomes a significant part of the conversation. Cryptocurrency tokens act as financial incentives for anyone who wants to participate in the peer-to-peer network.

Today, consumers might pay for a cloud provider like AWS or Google for their services, but with the absence of a server and since it will operate through the participation of several individuals on a server, the amount goes directly to the participants.

So, how does Web3 impact stock footage? First, it is essential to understand the current system in place.

The current system

Stock footage or b-roll content included in video productions and other video footage is a growing market on the internet. The rise in the demand for video content across the internet has given new life for content creators worldwide.

These clips aren’t just limited to primary video attributes but also consist of film-grade high-quality content. From wide cinematic shots to macro shots for product commercials, stock footage is an essential aspect n production.

And, they are everywhere — from YouTube videos, Netflix productions to major film productions.

This stock footage is primarily dominated by a few giants such as Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock. They take a more significant portion of the stock footage market and attract a large number of customers.

Excessive customers and demand become one of the main buying-ins for several creators to list their creatives.

When a purchase is made from your stock footage, you receive a certain percentage of the sale based on the rate decided by the platform.

This rate will not be anywhere close to what you expect from the creatives you listed. Often, a significant portion of the price goes in favor of the platform, and you will need to reach a selected number of downloads to receive a significantly higher percentage of royalties.

But every content creator is looking for ways to receive due recognition for their work and receive an adequate passive income.

But with most leading platforms, the issue is that content goes undervalued, and you cannot do anything about it.

The same applies to Intellectual Property (IP) content. There are several key challenges when it comes to regulating the copyright patented content, and the current laws in place make the process hard.

Currently, in the legacy systems where a single party keeps a record and trackback at a time of a dispute, content owners find it challenging since the information is not validated.

But a decentralized Web3 approach will address this all.

Decentralization and Content Ownership

Like Uber, Airbnb disrupted travel and leisure industries, Web3 can disrupt the avenue of content ownership and IP if it is implemented correctly.

When it comes to stock footage and IP, three fundamental problems exist in the current system.

  • Value and recognition for content
  • Transparency licensing
  • IP Protection

And the expected developments in Web3 are expected to bring in the changes.

Here’s how the approach could span out.

Value and recognition

Over the years, stock platforms have continued to claim an upper hand over the content creator on the stock footage. This is not the case on every platform, but it is often the more prominent players.

Still, creators continue to publish their content to these platforms since they are assured of a secure payment mode and the demand. But with the introduction of Web3 will remove the middleman in the process and connect providers directly with consumers.

There will be no central authority that will be taking a cut of the profits off the transfer.

However, we will not eliminate all the middlemen using blockchain technology but will need regular monitoring to ensure fairness. But we will see a shift towards decentralized and trustless networks over centralized control.

For example, in the future, stock footage owners can connect directly with the customers at the time of purchase.

Transparency licensing

Since Web3 runs on a distributed ledger, you can follow your data and inspect the distribution. Since we have concerns about receiving payments, we trust another entity in our transaction to ensure its security. Here, there are several other parties involved — the platform and the payment gateway.

In the future, there will be no party involved at any level. With the distributed ledger, you have the assurance of the payments and verifying the credibility.

Intellectual Property Ownership

With Web3 and blockchain, managing your assets will all be made simple. The system will handle the IP representing the asset, tracking the development, and finally licensing and contracts.

In the current way of doing things, businesses incur high costs in connecting partners in safeguarding their digital assets and face several restrictions across regions.

This decentralized approach will fix these where assets can be transferred, exchanged, and assigned a monetary value. Also, since transactions travel through the shared network, it reduces licensing and contract management steps.

Smart contracts will automate the dependent transactions, alert the relevant parties and calculate the obligation.

What is the way forward?

Over the next decade, stock footage will soon be off the centralized form of ownership and eventually be transferred into the decentralized nature with Web3 and blockchain technology.

Web3 will restore power to the content creator and provide them with an opportunity to decide how they want to be incentivized for their creations.

However, there are still several developments that need to be made along the way to make this happen. While there is ample reading material on Web3, it is still to reach the mainstream audience. But with time and the rate at which Web3 is growing, this will all change.

One thing is sure — Web3 is coming, and it will eventually transform the digital landscape.

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