Image Format Creator Believes Tech Can Fight Copyright Theft

The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) said blockchain has “great potential” as the basis of a system that would use a combination of encryption, hash signatures and watermarking in an image’s metadata to protect copyright, Digital Trends reported Thursday.

The organization that created the popular JPEG picture format believes blockchain could be used to verify images as well as flag fakes and image theft.

The system could have advantages over existing verification models, JPEG said at a recent meeting in Sydney, Australia. Instead of signing up for a particular program, blockchain means content creators and end-users can simply reference the metadata built into images themselves.

JPEG is a joint committee, formed from various technical standardization authorities around the world that created and now maintains the popular image format of the same name.

At the meeting, the group also discussed whether blockchain, and possibly smart contracts, could be used in media forensics as well as to better protect user privacy and security.

Social media networks, such as Facebook, could even use their proposed blockchain system to flag stolen and faked photos uploaded to their platforms, JPEG suggested.

The idea of using blockchain technology to verify images is not new. Photography company Kodak, as one example, licensed a third party to create a DLT-based system in early 2018 to incentivize users to report fakes and copyright violations in return for a “KodakCoin” cryptocurrency.

But JPEG’s blockchain plan is still in its infancy. The group said it would continue consulting with industry figures before moving any further forward.

Judge Approved Blockchain Association’s Brief in Kik Case Despite SEC Objections

A U.S. District Judge allowed the Blockchain Association to file a brief in an ongoing lawsuit between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Kik despite the regulator’s concerns the group was not a neutral observer.Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York signed off on the advocacy group’s right to file the amicus – or “friend of the court” – brief last week, a day after the SEC filed an objection saying several members of the association had financial interests in the case, and it therefore was not an objective or neutral entity.

The Blockchain Association pushed back against the SEC’s description of its role in the case Tuesday, with Executive Director Kristin Smith saying the group was “proud to file” the brief.

“The SEC’s description of our brief was wrong, and we are pleased the court granted our motion to participate as a friend of the court”, she said in a statement shared with CoinDesk.

Graham Newhall, the association’s communications advisor, said the group wouldn’t comment on the specific claims the SEC made in its filing, but said that “it’s a little strange to treat the Blockchain Association different from other trade associations.”

Kik is not currently a member of the group, though the Blockchain Association does currently manage the “Defend Crypto” fund Kik originally launched last year.

“The Blockchain Association was proud to file its amicus brief in this matter, and we appreciate the opportunity to speak for the entire industry in supporting sensible regulation”, Smith said. “The court system benefits from amicus briefs like ours that place the parties’ evidence and arguments in their broader context, a role played every day by associations, non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups in courts across America.”

The SEC maintains the kin sales were a securities transaction, while Kik says its public sale was not. Kik originally sought a jury trial for the case, which began in June 2019, though it has since walked back from the stance.

Japanese Exchange bitFlyer Blockchain Arm Launches Consulting Service

One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan and one of the biggest Bitcoin brokers worldwide just announced their blockchain arm would be starting consulting services to address requests from new businesses on blockchain technology.

According to an April 27 press release, bitFlyer Blockchain said they would be offering a fifth service – consulting – in addition to the BaaS, Joint Business, miyabi Core, and RegTech services available at the firm. It aims to target companies starting new businesses and revolutionize task management in industries such as finance, manufacturing, technology, real estate, and public sectors.

The move comes in response to requests bitFlyer Blockchain has received regarding blockchain technology. The company noted that corporations have made inquiries about Security Token Offerings (STO), building transparent supply chains, and how to make use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) for managing the IPs of video game content, music, and anime copyrights – big business in Japan.

Headquartered in Tokyo with subsidiaries in Europe and the United States, bitFlyer aims to provide a one-stop solution for coming up with ideas for developing systems, implementation, and management. The crypto exchange recently gave their customers the option to buy Bitcoin in U.S. dollars for no fees.

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