The word Blockchain means so many different things to so many people, but for most, the word and technology is usually associated with cryptocurrency. The idea of exchanging currency without a bank is exciting to many people around the world. With all of the excitement and investment around blockchain technology, it is hard to find information about the usage of it in other industries and without cryptocurrency being involved.
My focus on investment and entrepreneurship isn’t anchored in finance, transportation, or healthcare, three of the main areas currently using blockchain in exciting solutions. I am rooted in the entertainment industry, where tech advances receive little attention unless your name is Disney or Netflix, or a major celebrity is involved with the project.
Like every entrepreneur, we started with solving a problem. The problem we confronted is one faced by every filmmaker around the world: “Chain of Title.” Within the context of the film industry, chain of title is a series of documents or agreements that establish proprietary rights in a motion picture and all of its parts. As you can imagine, these series of documents can be the difference between a filmmaker being able to sell their content to a distributor for release or not.
Many first-time filmmakers are unaware of this and face the massive task of curating this information months, sometimes years, after production. You can imagine how frustrating it could be to have to find an agreement on a hard drive, buried in folders on a computer. This is another one of those entertainment processes done the manual way by most.
My business partner, Greg Parker, came to the conclusion that blockchain could help solve this problem. We set out to create a usable blockchain solution that would track documents for productions and make them available to lawyers to assist in creating their chain of title opinion letter.
Our team used Ethereum and Solidity contracts to build this solution that we call “Story Block.” The first iteration is live on our Story Data platform, storydata.io, and easily creates an immutable record of the writer’s stories, copyright, and WGA certification information on the blockchain. In the event of a sell, the writer has helped the purchaser establish a chain of title.
Over the next few weeks, we are exposing “Story Block” information to lawyers, but most importantly, we are going to open the service to allow filmmakers, not using the Story Data hosting service, to create chain of titles. In doing so, we are helping to solve a decades old problem and to reduce friction within the filmmaker/distributor releasing process.
In the end, we believe using great technology, like blockchain, will advance the industry as a whole.