The World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO") has launched an online global service, WIPO PROOF to provide tamper-proof evidence that a digital file (which can be in any format) existed at a specific point in time and that it has not been altered since that specific time.
This could be transformative in enabling creators to protect their digital content, particularly where they cannot rely upon registered intellectual property rights. The ability to provide a timestamp of when a work was created may be particularly helpful when relying on copyright, as it could potentially be used as evidence in legal disputes in some jurisdictions. It will also be helpful for data driven companies who wish to use the tool to manage data for training AI models, for example.
How does it work?
From our initial review, WIPO PROOF appears very easy to use. Once on the website, a creator uploads a file of their digital content. This could be anything: a play script, music, artificial intelligence algorithms, large data sets or fashion designs. A token is required for each digital file (the cost of a token is from CHF 20 and they can be purchased individually or as bundles). If not created by the person uploading the content, they has the option to note whether they are a legal representative of the owner of the file or are authorised to upload the file by a company/organisation which owns the file.
Once the token is issued, WIPO PROOF's Public Key Infrastructure technology, a secure one-way algorithm, creates a unique digital fingerprint on the file. The benefit of this technology is twofold: first, WIPO PROOF cannot read the digital file's content or store a copy of the content. Instead, WIPO PROOF simply stores the hash in the WIPO PROOF token. This token acts as an infallible proof of existence of the content at a given date. Second, it is worldwide, cost effective and efficient. Anyone can access the website to validate the token and the token never expires. The token is stored on WIPO's servers for five years with the option to renew for a further years by paying a fee.