Smart Contracts and Licensing

Chapter

Abstract

Contracts are agreements, which involve moving certain assets or value from one owner to another based on a condition or set of conditions between people or things. Considering the fact that institutions and central organizations are commonly fundamental as trusted authorities, part of their central operations can be condensed into smart contracts that are controlled by decentralized consent on a blockchain. The idea behind smart contracts and smart licensing of proprietary material (e.g., software, music and digital art) is that the contractual control of transactions between two or more entities is confirmable programmatically through the blockchain instead of through a central gatekeeper or arbitrator. Smart contracts eliminate the need for two parties to depend on a central authority because they ‘can agree’ between themselves, define the terms and implications of their agreement programmatically and conditionally, with automatic asset releases when fulfilling services in a sequential manner, or incur penalties if not fulfilled. Due to the ability of the blockchain technology as an indisputable endorser of dealings, each peer can go ahead and have trust in each other because the framework of governance, contracts, trust, and agreements dwell on top of the technology. To this end, this chapter will describe how organizations can leverage the smart contract technology by integrating smart contract code and the blockchain for the purpose of overseeing agreements and licensing. It then explains the benefits, the down sides as well as realistic case studies on the use of smart contracts in various industries.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management and TechnologyBocconi UniversityMilanItaly

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