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China adopts Blockchain to fight online plagiarism menace

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In a first of its kind, an internet court in the Eastern city of China, Hangzhou will make use of the blockchain technology to fight copyright infringement and plagiarism for the online work. China took the initiative to establish internet court in view of rising internet-related disputes, making it easy for online writers to get justice on time without bearing the high cost.

Hangzhou Internet Court

China’s first internet court was unique in many senses. First, it was accepting the filing of complaints and cases online, and second, the court was given the mandate to stream all its proceedings live. For filing the cases, the complainants can verify their identities by using either their government IDs or their own Alipay account. In a sense, the Hangzhou Court is emerging as an effective governance model for the internet in China. It is looking into diversified areas of internet disputes and can be safely described as first-of-its-kind in the field of Internet trials.

Hangzhou Selection

There is a specific reason behind the selection of Hangzhou city for the establishment of internet court. The Hangzhou is home to a large number of online writers and in fact, Binjiang district of the city has a specific village called, the writer’s village which is inhabited by hundreds of popular writers contributing thousands of articles online on daily basis. Over the years, these writers have started facing the issue of plagiarism and finding it difficult to prove that a particular work belongs to them. As the problem intensified, some of the writers used screenshots and downloaded the content as a proof of their ownership but given the fact that these kinds of proofs can be easily forged and tempered, courts ruled out their admissibility as a piece of evidence. Besides, he high expense of lawyers, legal agencies, and notaries are some of the other challenges that these online writers usually face while pursuing their claim of ownership.

Blockchain Technology

The internet court believes that with blockchain technology, it is almost impossible to tamper with the proof. As blockchain works on the principle of a distributed ledger and decentralized technology, the evidence will be foolproof against any kind of meddling. Commenting on the benefits of blockchain Technology, Wang Jiangqiao, one of the judges of internet court said that blockchain has the ability to make evidence tamper-proof and allows the writer to track his content, authorship, content creation time, and any proof of its infringement.

Blockchain Data: An admissible Proof

Just a few weeks ago, Hangzhou internet court became first in the country to officially recognize blockchain technology to store evidence and proofs. The decision came in the backdrop of a case in which a litigator (Hangzhou-based Company) claimed that the defendant (technology firm based in Shenzhen) has published litigator’s copyrighted work on its website, thereby infringing on litigator’s intellectual property rights. To prove this, the litigant uploaded the defendant’s web-page and its source code on Bitcoin blockchain. After concluding the investigation, the Hangzhou court ruled that from now onwards, this type of electronic data would be admissible as evidence in the cases of copyright infringement and plagiarism.

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