Software giant Microsoft recently released a paper on a blockchain-based incentive system for bolstering anti-piracy campaigns.
The paper was conducted with the participation of Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon researchers.
Historically, Microsoft's Windows operating system and Office productivity suite have been top performers on any piracy platform. It's no wonder then tbat Microsoft, the company that develops both products, strives to stifle piracy.
Microsoft's new anti-piracy campaign relies on a transparent incentive system based on blockchain technology, as the title of the research indicates. With Argus, built on Ethereum, piracy data can be collected and protected anonymously in an open-source, trust-less manner.
As a distributed system problem, the paper elaborates, "we implement in a way that ensures security despite full transparency despite unavoidable obstacles.".
With the watermark algorithm described in the paper, Argus allows backtracking of pirated content to its source. Reports of leaked content often entail information hiding, which is called "proof of leakage." The only person who can report this copy is the informer who owns it.
Also, under the system, there are safeguards that reduce the incentives for reporting the same content under different aliases over and over. “Our hope is that by shifting to a transparent incentive mechanism, real-world antipiracy campaigns will be truly effective.” the report added.
The research paper outlined the issue of Ethereum network fees, discussing how the team optimized several cryptographic operations that resulted in a piracy reporting price as low as the cost of sending about 14 Ethereum transfer transactions, which would otherwise be equivalent to thousands of transfers.
Currently, the tech giant offers Azure Blockchain Service, which simplifies the formation, management, and governance of blockchain networks so clients can focus on business logic and app development.