The World Today
Intellectual Property [IP] is the most critical element in the world economy. According to the United States patent and trademark office, IP directly enables at least 45 million jobs and more than $6 trillion (nearly 40% of the US GDP). In other words, IP is a crucial foundation for the US and world economies. Mechanisms like copyrights, trademarks, and patents encourage the research and development of novel ideas and content and grant inventors and creators rights to protect their original creative works. Through these rights and legal structures, businesses have an opportunity to evolve from ideas, to startups, to global titans of industry. Copyrights protect written work. Trademarks protect branding and designs. Patents protect inventions and, over time, have been used to protect a broader variety of inventions, such as coding algorithms or genetically modified organisms.
In the era of integrated technologies, it is commonplace, if not expected, that several inventions and brands collaborate in the creation of a work or layer their respective IP in an indistinguishable fashion in order to provide world-class products and services to their customers. What happens, then, when someone wants to contract any of these rights holders for a project of their own?
Intellectual property (IP) licenses allow individuals or businesses to use another's IP rights
Historically, you would need to track down the correct rights holders and obtain a license for the protected asset, regardless of how widespread and how confusing the ownership trail is.
For example, if you wish to play music by artists in the background of your hotel, you would need to obtain a blanket license from a performance rights organization (PRO) such as the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers [ASCAP] or Broadcast Music Incorporated [BMI] to do so legally. In this way, royalties can be distributed to the rights holder, rewarding them for their idea. However, to obtain permission to use music in, say, an Instagram video or any digital content, you must find, contact, and negotiate with the rights holders for a license. The time to complete all these processes is substantial, and the entire exercise is quite painstaking. Furthermore, sometimes you are simply unable to contact the rights holder due to a lack of information or no response.
Now, let's say that you are able to get your hand on one of these coveted and frankly rare licenses; then another issue arises because even when a proper license is purchased, there is no way for platforms to know that those rights/licenses exist. So what ends up happening on social media platforms, the metaverse, video games, and streaming platforms, is users get copyright claimed and punished regardless of proper license ownership.
A copyright claim is when a rightsholder reports a piece of content for infringing on rights owned by that rightsholder, these claims can be issued by these rightsholders or the platforms that facilitate the creation of this content
Here's an example situation: Let's say that an individual that is an Instagram creator somehow was able to purchase the rights/license to use the song 7 Rings by Ariana Grande in one of their Instagram videos. Now that the user has this license, the user now legally creates and uploads their Instagram video with the entire 7 Rings song inside of it. What ends up happening is Instagram automatically issues a copyright claim on this video because they have no way of knowing the user actually owns the proper license to use 7 Rings by Ariana Grande. The user is now given the option to either move on with their life or contest this claim. The contesting process usually takes 3 weeks or more, and during this time, "Instagram" will review the issue. In actuality, Instagram will send this contest to the original claim directly to the rightsholder, in this case, Ariana Grande, and then the rightsholder has to manually clear that claim.
Now during this painstaking process, you can only imagine the room for error there is, not to mention that billions of these false claims are issued just on Instagram, not even including the thousands of other platforms out there. The time and money that is wasted during this manual and inaccurate process proceed to get worse and worse with the growing creator industry, which only substantially disadvantages creators, rightsholders, and platforms.
This inefficient guilty-until-proven-innocent system needs to be changed. That's where Nitrility comes into action.