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Rewiring the Internet for Ownership with Big Data and Blockchains, by Trent McConaghy (ascribe)

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Accompanying video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLORX6w_OZI&feature=youtu.be

Abstract: When it comes to ownership, the internet is broken. Artists, designers, and other creatives can share their work easily on the internet, but keeping it as "theirs" and get fairly compensated has proven difficult. How do you "own" something when bits can be copied freely? It turns out that visionaries of hypertext foresaw this issue in the 60s. They even proposed systems to handle this. However, those systems were too complex and hard to build. By the early 90s, the simpler WWW had won, but unfortunately in its simplicity it left out attribution to owners. We ask a new question: can we retrofit the internet for ownership? It turns out the answer is yes, with the help of python-powered big data, machine learning, and the blockchain. First, we crawl the internet and create a large scale crawl database, then preprocess all media into machine learning features. Then, creators can "register" their work onto the blockchain. Finally, we use machine learning to cross-reference registered works against the large-scale crawl database. We can do this for images, text, and even 3d designs; and it works even if the design has changed meaningfully. Python-powered big data is making it possible to revive the dream of ownership on the internet.

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Rewiring the Internet for Ownership with Big Data and Blockchains, by Trent McConaghy (ascribe)

  1. 1. Trent McConaghy © ascribe GmbH 2015 Version 0.9, May 29, 2015 ascribe ID: 167DLM2vXEKLEMd4kRLJVqBmgW3iFMBues Rewiring the Internet for Ownership with Big Data and Blockchains
  2. 2. Problems
  3. 3. Fun with rootkits
  4. 4. Jonathan Monaghan Escape Pod 2015, 3 editions How do you collect digital art?
  5. 5. Jonathan Monaghan Escape Pod 2015, 3 editions How do you collect digital art?
  6. 6. http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/17/4844814/would-you-pay-2000-for-a-gif "the question of ownership [of digital art] … is still unsolved ... the elephant in the room” -the Verge, 2013
  7. 7. How do you share 3d-printing designs? “my conclusion is that whatever you put on the internet you lose it. Maybe keep the rights, but lose the power over it.” -user on Shapeways blog http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/19789-copyright-3d-printing-and-you-what-does-it-all-mean.html
  8. 8. Fortified: Restricted, difficult to reuse, difficult to share Copyright Zone Public Domain Ocean Open: Unrestricted reuse, but much material is inferior or outdated Adapted from http://xanadu.net/NOWMORETHANEVER/XuSum99.html
  9. 9. Ownership of digital property (especially on the internet) is a mess • Creators – hard to get compensated. Sharing = losing control. • Collectors / audience – no secondary markets • Connectors – distracted by legals • For almost every digital media vertical: digital art, photography, 3d, music, videos, ..
  10. 10. Ownership of digital property (especially on the internet) is a mess • Creators – hard to get compensated. Sharing = losing control. • Collectors / audience – no secondary markets • Connectors – distracted by legals • For almost every digital media vertical: digital art, photography, 3d, music, videos, .. Where’s my stuff?
  11. 11. Ownership of digital property (especially on the internet) is a mess • Creators – hard to get compensated. Sharing = losing control. • Collectors / audience – no secondary markets • Connectors – distracted by legals • For almost every digital media vertical: digital art, photography, 3d, music, videos, .. Where’s my stuff? No visibility Painful legals
  12. 12. Why? Ownership of digital property (especially on the internet) is a mess Some WWW history…
  13. 13. Create some art, and put it on the net. Trent’s (obviously great) work of art
  14. 14. original The WWW Zero links: Copy with no attribution
  15. 15. original Uni-directional links: Attribution but no ownership control The WWW Zero links: Copy with no attribution or mis- attribution
  16. 16. original Uni-directional links: Attribution but no ownership control The WWW Zero links: Copy with no attribution or mis- attribution Where’s my stuff? No visibility Painful legals
  17. 17. “The current world wide web does basically one thing: simple, stupid, mindless hyperlinks. But even that alone was enough to build a functional and useful internet for the world.” -Jeff Atwood, Coding Horror Blog http://blog.codinghorror.com/the-xanadu-dream/
  18. 18. Does it need to be this way? Some pre-WWW history…
  19. 19. “[Consider] a unified .. service that would provide storage and publication services, and manage .. royalty payment on a .. fair basis that would facilitate unrestricted virtual republishing” -Ted Nelson -on a vision from 1965 http://xanadu.net/NOWMORETHANEVER/XuSum99.html
  20. 20. Restricted Copyright Zone Unrestricted Public Domain Zone Unrestricted Transpublishing Zone Anything may be quoted, and republished, without prearrangement or difficulty, retaining © and © benefits Growing pool of republishable materials Public domain ocean 1. Theodor H. Nelson, "A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the indeterminate." Proceedings of the ACM National Conference, 1965. 2. Image adapted from http://xanadu.net/NOWMORETHANEVER/XuSum99.html “.. a new middle realm, one which renders copyright benign and flexible .. a win-win system, as it is beneficial both to rights holders and to users, in a way that other copyright systems are not beneficial to users.” –Ted Nelson The Xanadu Vision (from 1965) “The original hypertext project”
  21. 21. original 1. Bi-directional links, 2. Baked-in copyright The Xanadu design
  22. 22. original 1. Bi-directional links, 2. Baked-in copyright Where’s my stuff? The Xanadu design
  23. 23. original 1. Bi-directional links, 2. Baked-in copyright Where’s my stuff? The Xanadu design Visibility via bi-dir. links Baked-in copyright
  24. 24. http://xanadu.net/NOWMORETHANEVER/XuSum99.html The Xanadu design: 1972 mockup
  25. 25. The Xanadu design was actually “a little” more complicated (1968) http://xanadu.net/NOWMORETHANEVER/XuSum99.html
  26. 26. original Bi-directional links: Owner awareness, “baked-in copyright” Xanadu What happened? 1. Complex → hard to build 25+ year effort – “vaporware” 2. The simpler WWW came along 3. And ate its lunch…
  27. 27. original Uni-directional links: Attribution but no ownership control Zero links: Copy with no attribution or mis- attribution So now we have the WWW, warts and all “HTML is precisely what we were trying to prevent -- ever-breaking links … no rights management.” –Ted Nelson
  28. 28. Summary so far • Ownership of digital property (especially Internet) is a mess • Despite being anticipated since the 60s • And designed for • But simplicity of www won out • Leaving “where’s my stuff?” unsolved
  29. 29. A new Q: Can we retrofit the Internet for ownership? (and realize the Xanadu aims in the process)
  30. 30. original The ascribe idea 1. Auto-discover bi-directional links 2. Easy, secure legals auto auto auto auto
  31. 31. original The ascribe idea 1. Auto-discover bi-directional links 2. Easy, secure legals auto auto auto auto Where’s my stuff? Auto bi-dir. links Easy, secure legals
  32. 32. original The ascribe idea auto auto auto auto Where’s my stuff? How (ascribe): • Crawl the entire internet (220 Tb text) • Similarity match against creator’s content (10G+ images, 3d designs, ..) • This is a machine learning problem, at Internet scale • To know when someone’s using your work
  33. 33. original The ascribe idea auto auto auto auto Where’s my stuff? • Easy legals via terms of service: “I claim copyright rights” (creator) and “I transfer [beneficial-use] copyright rights” (sale). • Copyright in a box! • Secure copyright by time-stamping evidence of ownership actions onto a trusted ledger (bitcoin blockchain). • Special “SPOOL” protocol for ownership: unique editions, consign, loan .. • Time-stamp = evidence for court in case of ownership dispute (thank you Silk Road!)
  34. 34. Easy legals: snippet of ascribe terms of service
  35. 35. Secure legals: blockchain ownership protocol SPOOL = Secure Public Online Ownership Ledger. github.com/ascribe/spool
  36. 36. ascribe ownership REST API ascribe web appmarketplaces How: full ascribe tech stack blockchain PySPOOL + transactions bitcoin protocol ascribe TOS (+ legal counsel)the Internet (crawl me) ascribe ownership servers ascribe crawl, machine learning 2. Easy, secure legals 1. Auto-discover bi-directional links SPOOL protocol
  37. 37. BITCOIN OVERLAY (SPOOL*) Interface 1/4 on the ascribe stack *SPOOL = Secure Public Online Ownership Ledger For adventurous BTC hackers 
  38. 38. Bitcoin overlay (SPOOL): register tx Example on 3 editions Hash of work ascribe address Edition 1/3 addr Edition 2/3 addr Edition 3/3 addr BTC change OP_RETURN “register”
  39. 39. Bitcoin overlay (SPOOL): transfer ownership tx Old owner’s addr for piece New owner’s addr for piece OP_RETURN “transfer” BTC change ≈ the first time any bitcoin leaves existing owner’s wallet, ownership is transferred to the output wallet
  40. 40. Bitcoin overlay (SPOOL): Provenance emerges naturally Owner 1 Owner 2 Owner 3 Owner 4
  41. 41. Bitcoin overlay (SPOOL): Each edition of each work gets a unique ID Hash of work ascribe address Edition 1/3 addr Edition 2/3 addr Edition 3/3 addr BTC change OP_RETURN “register” Bitcoin address of original owner = Piece ID
  42. 42. Bitcoin overlay (SPOOL) Register tx binds work hash to piece IDs Hash of work ascribe address Edition 1/3 addr Edition 2/3 addr Edition 3/3 addr BTC change OP_RETURN “register” Piece’s digital fingerprint is permanently bound to piece ID
  43. 43. Interface 2/4 on the ascribe stack For pythonistas! PySPOOL (ownership) transactions (ez btc txs) github.com/ascribe
  44. 44. PySPOOL Details https://github.com/ascribe/pyspool
  45. 45. PySPOOL Details https://github.com/ascribe/pyspool
  46. 46. PySPOOL Details https://github.com/ascribe/pyspool
  47. 47. PySPOOL Details https://github.com/ascribe/pyspool
  48. 48. PySPOOL Details https://github.com/ascribe/pyspool
  49. 49. “transactions” details https://github.com/ascribe/transactions
  50. 50. REST API Interface 3/4 on the ascribe stack For marketplaces of digital goods (art, photography, 3d, ..) to answer “where’s my stuff” for their users, and themselves
  51. 51. WEB APP Interface 4/4 on the ascribe stack For individual creators (artists, graphic designers, photographers, writers, ..) who want to register, consign, and archive their work directly. And for individual galleries. And for collectors.
  52. 52. How ascribe tech helps ownership • Creators – Can claim & protect ownership. Can share without losing control. Cryptographic Certificate of Authenticity (CCOA). • Collectors / audience – digital provenance enables secondary markets. • Connectors – mitigate friction on legal side • For digital art, 3d, photography, ..
  53. 53. Demo
  54. 54. Trent’s (obviously great) work of art #2
  55. 55. Landing page
  56. 56. Signup
  57. 57. Register work 1/3
  58. 58. Register work 2/3
  59. 59. Register work 3/3
  60. 60. Piece detail
  61. 61. All works =archive =wallet
  62. 62. Transfer ownership
  63. 63. Interesting aside: While this app uses bitcoin, you don’t have to know bitcoin at all. Though if you do, you can cross-check…
  64. 64. Easily cross-ref blockchain 1/2
  65. 65. Easily cross-ref blockchain 2/2
  66. 66. ascribe status
  67. 67. ascribed digital art at world- class gallery (bitforms NYC) Jonathan Monaghan Escape Pod 2015, 3 editions ID: 1P1EumqcJoxMMGf79WwdkFn7uCRBeNaCR8 http://ascri.be/1KfMJt0
  68. 68. Berlin Art Prize tech platform: 349 artists ascribed 598 works http://ascri.be/1E3eUck
  69. 69. 152-year old art museum MAK Vienna bought ascribed digital art to its collection http://ascri.be/1datNRs
  70. 70. Online art gallery Cointemporary sells ascribed digital art, for bitcoins http://ascri.be/1EgF3Ws
  71. 71. We’ve even bought ascribed work to use on our landing page. #eatingowndogfood http://ascri.be/1DE6uVu
  72. 72. Creative Commons FR With CC licenses of course!
  73. 73. Other ascribe users Digital artists Photographers 3d design marketplaces Other creatives Art marketplaces Photography marketplaces
  74. 74. tech status • Webapp – alpha – Mar 2014 • Webapp – beta – Sep 2014 • Tracking/ML 20M images – Dec 2014 • REST API – alpha – Feb 2015 • Webapp – v1 – Mar 2015 • REST API + tracking/ML Internet scale – beta – Apr 2015 • Open-source PySPOOL & transactions – June 2015 • REST API + tracking/ML – v1 – June 2015 • Webapp + tracking/ML – v1 – June 2015
  75. 75. Conclusion 1/2 • Ownership of digital property (especially Internet) is a mess • Despite being anticipated since the 60s • And designed for • But simplicity of www won out • Leaving “where’s my stuff?” unsolved • .. Until ascribe
  76. 76. original 1. Auto-discover bi-directional links 2. Easy, secure legals auto auto auto auto Where’s my stuff? Auto bi-dir. links via Internet-scale machine learning Easy, secure legals via TOS & bitcoin blockchain Conclusion 2/2: By answering this… … we’re building the ownership layer of the internet.
  77. 77. Red pill? ascribe.io/jobs

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