Microsoft Envisions a Blockchain-Based Bounty System to Catch Pirates * TorrentFreak

Microsoft is likely one of the world’s most outstanding copyright holders with an enormous expertise in combating piracy.

The corporate is a part of the Software program Alliance (BSA), for instance, which is thought to trace copyright infringements both off- and online.

The BSA can be identified for its piracy bounties, the place it guarantees whistleblowers money rewards in return for fruitful suggestions. This can be a controversial technique which Microsoft’s personal analysis staff hopes to enhance upon.



A number of days in the past Microsoft’s research department revealed an article titled: Argus: A Totally Clear Incentive System for Anti-Piracy Campaigns, which lays out the main points of its plan.

The paper, which additionally acquired enter from researchers at Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon College, means that an open and clear blockchain is a part of the answer. This openness is at present lacking from BSA-style reporting mechanisms.

“Industrial alliances and firms are working anti-piracy incentive campaigns, however their effectiveness is publicly questioned because of the lack of transparency. We imagine that full transparency of a marketing campaign is important to really incentivize folks,” the paper reads.

Piracy Bounty Searching

The article is stuffed with technical particulars. We don’t attempt to supply a full abstract however, merely put, Argus is a clear system constructed on the Ethereum blockchain that enables folks to anonymously report piracy in alternate for a bounty.


Pirated content material is traced again to the supply by means of a singular watermark that corresponds with a secret code. When a pirated copy is reported, the standing of the supply (licensee) is modified to “accused.” The system gives an enchantment possibility, but when that fails, the accused standing adjustments to “responsible.”

Argus is an open system however there are numerous safeguards to forestall abuse. Reporting the identical pirated work a number of instances below completely different aliases is ineffective, for instance, as that may solely cut back the reward.

Low Blockchain Prices

The system depends on a number of checks to make sure that the system is open, whereas avoiding false accusations on the similar time. And in response to the researchers, the prices of using the blockchain are comparatively low.

“We successfully optimize a number of cryptographic operations in order that the price for a piracy reporting is diminished to an equal price of sending about 14 ETH-transfer transactions to run on the general public Ethereum community, which might in any other case correspond to 1000’s of transactions.

“With the safety and practicality of Argus, we hope real-world anti-piracy campaigns will probably be really efficient by shifting to a completely clear incentive mechanism,” the researchers add.

Actual-World Use?

Whether or not Microsoft has any plans to check the system within the wild is unknown. It theoretically works with varied media sorts together with photographs, audio and software program.

That mentioned, it’s unclear how efficient it will likely be. The researchers “assume” that the watermarking know-how deployed is tamper-free, which isn’t all the time the case immediately.

All in all, it’s intriguing to see blockchain know-how used to enhance the slightly old school piracy reporting campaigns. This concept isn’t utterly new, nevertheless, because the South African firm Custos came up with a similar idea years in the past.

Microsoft’s analysis notes that Argus is superior to Custos’ resolution as it could possibly assess the severity of piracy and the power of accusations. On the similar time, they imagine Argus is best than BSA’s campaigns as a result of the reward funds are clear.

The paper and the Argus system will probably be offered on the upcoming 40th International Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems, which will probably be held nearly on the finish of September.

Source link