Software piracy — or rather any sort of piracy — is problematic and has been around for years now. Microsoft now has a plan to counter the threats of software piracy. According to a report by TechRadar, Microsoft researchers want to use blockchain to fight the problem of piracy.
In a research paper, Microsoft said, “Anti-piracy is fundamentally a procedure that relies on collecting data from the open anonymous population, so how to incentivise credible reporting is a question at the center of the problem.”
To deal with the issue, Microsoft wants to create a system — called Argus — which is built on Ethereum blockchain and will allow users to anonymously report piracy. In exchange of reporting piracy cases, Microsoft will pay a bounty — some sort of financial record.
The report further says that the system will “trace pirated content back to the source by using a unique watermark that corresponds with a secret code. When pirated content is then reported, the status of the source (licensee) will be changed to “accused” and then to “guilty” if an appeal is denied.”
In the research paper, Microsoft said that the current systems haven’t proven to be really effective. “Industrial alliances and companies are running anti-piracy incentive campaigns, but their effectiveness is publicly questioned due to the lack of transparency. We believe that full transparency of a campaign is necessary to truly incentivize people.”
The idea isn’t completely new as a South African company had a similar idea a few years back. Microsoft, however, says that its system is practical and secure. “With the security and practicality of Argus, we hope real-world anti-piracy campaigns will be truly effective by shifting to a fully transparent incentive mechanism,” the researchers added.
There’s no clear timeline on when Microsoft will actually roll out the system.