Blockchain Journalism Startup Civil Teams With The Associated Press

Announcements, Blockchain | August 28, 2018 By:

Blockchain startup Civil has partnered with The Associated Press to develop a blockchain solution for high-quality journalism.

Civil is a blockchain-based economy that involves the direct, peer-to-peer exchange of value between journalists who report articles, make videos, record podcasts, and the people who read, watch, listen and support their work. Its First Fleet Newsrooms officially began publishing last month. The newsrooms include Local Journalism (The Colorado Sun, The River, Block Club Chicago), Investigative Journalism (Documented, Sludge), Policy Journalism (The Small Bow, Hmm Daily), and International Journalism (Global Ground, Splice).

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Its teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. The publication provides content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.

Under the two-part deal, the AP will license its content to the newsrooms in the Civil network. The AP will also be working with Civil to build a blockchain solution that will let Civil newsrooms track the flow of their content and enforce licensing rights. The two companies expect to release a product in three months. In addition, the AP will get Civil tokens, which Civil will issue in an initial coin offering (ICO) next month.

Matthew Iles, Civil’s founder and CEO, said the goal of the blockchain technology is twofold: to make it easier for publishers and creators to license their content and make it easier for them to track down their content when it’s used without permission.

“People who are creating content aren’t in control of it in any way,” Iles said. “What this all boils up to is content creators to to be able to get credit for work wherever it’s published and more efficiently track the chain of value and ensure people are getting name credit and compensation.”

The Civil token sale is set to start on September 18. The tokens are part of the way Civil is trying to form a self-governing system to promote ethical, high-quality journalism. Token holders can use it to help fund Civil newsrooms and keep low-quality newsrooms out of the network.

Jim Kennedy, svp of strategy and enterprise development at The Associated Press, said that finding new customers for the AP’s journalism was its primary interest in Civil, but protecting intellectual property was important, too.

“Right now, we send something out on the Internet, and we can’t really track it in all the ways it’s consumed,” Kennedy said. “When you’re licensing content to a legacy media company, you can pretty well track it. But on the Internet, it’s never been easy. When we do contracts with people, we establish their rights to use it, and they’re generally followed. But when it’s published, it’s freely available for people to scrape and cut and paste. It used to be, we just worried about people using it for free. Now there’s this whole element of people using it for fake news and misinformation. This presents an opportunity to have a real track record of who’s allowed to publish content and how it’s being used.”