Working paper Open Access

Online service providers and blockchain: undermining copyright goals?

Cahill, Tiarnan

This thesis will analyse whether online service providers critically undermine the functionality/goals of copyright, and to what extent blockchain technology can assist or entrench any arising issues. Analysis will begin with online service providers (OSPs) and provide a breakdown of how platforms interact with users, copyright, and the relationship between all three. Moving forward, analysis will continue by looking at the fundamental aspects of blockchain technology, and how these interact with OSPs in providing potential solutions or in fact posing more questions to copyright. Finally, this thesis will conclude that, through overriding desire for commercial control and growth, there are aspects of OSPs that do undermine copyright. Meanwhile, blockchain has the potential to alter the status quo, and galvanise copyright in favour of the innovator, re-calibrating the balance of power away from intermediaries. However, too much of the potential of blockchain is subject to theory or imperfect technological advancements, which ultimately means that blockchain currently cannot substantially reinforce or assist copyright in relation to problems posed by OSPs. With that being said, whilst OSPs present several significant problems to the functionality/goals of copyright, overall, such platforms do not critically undermine copyright. OSPs have encouraged unparalleled content creation and secured substantial revenue opportunities for innovators by nurturing primary and secondary markets.

This working paper is a part of the "Outstanding LLM Dissertations 2021".

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