Licens Whitepaper

Version: 1.0, last update: Nov 1, 2022

Licens Protocol Overview

Licens is a decentralized commerce platform for tokenized copyright licensing that solves the growing dilemmas of centralized stock content markets. Creators on Licens can license their digital content directly to the end user, providing the user with an immutable license agreement that proves their rights, and a transparent record of the content’s history and usage. Using the Web3 technologies described above, Licens introduces a License-to-Earn (L2E) tokenomics system and Proof-of-Right (POR) counter-infringement mechanism to the market for the first time ever.

Mission & Vision

Our mission is to bring fairness, transparency, control, and trust back to all creators while disrupting the stock media market currently dominated by centralized marketplaces like Adobe, Getty Images, and Shutterstock.

Our vision is to create a fully decentralized commerce protocol with no dependence on centralized 3rd parties, giving full ownership and control back to the creator community.

Commerce Platform (vs. Marketplace)

Licens is not a marketplace like Shutterstock or Getty Images, but instead, it’s a commerce platform like Shopify. The key differences are:

Tokenized Copyright Licensing

At the core of the Licens platform is the Tokenized Copyright Licensing feature. Licens mints an ownership NFT for each listing. Whoever holds the ownership NFT can edit the listing and is entitled to all earnings from that listing. When a license transaction happens, a new copyright license NFT will be minted and sent to the licensee’s wallet to represent their legal rights to use the work.

Each copyright license NFT represents a binding contract between the licensor (creator) and the licensee (client). When the licensee authorizes the crypto-based transaction to purchase a specific copyright license, he or she enters a licensing agreement with the licensor, just like using an e-signature service. Each NFT license contains the creative file’s on-chain address, the licensor’s wallet address, the on-chain address for the license terms, and the effective date. The tokenized license can be easily transferred. For instance, if an agency buys elements to work with their clients, they can easily transfer the license NFT to the client later, along with the final deliverable.

An Adaptive Approach to Creative Commons

Licens adopts Creative Commons for copyright licensing. Creative Commons licenses (“CC” licenses) are standard form license agreements developed and maintained by Creative Commons, a non-profit organization. CC licenses help creators retain copyrights while allowing others (the licensees) to copy, distribute, and make use of their work. Creators need to answer a few simple questions on the path to choosing one of the six types of CC licenses.14

Creators can also upload custom licensing agreements and sell under their own terms. Since preparing a thorough and comprehensive licensing agreement is time-consuming and costly, this option better suits professional photographers and agencies. We require creators to answer the same questionnaire as they would find in Creative Commons to identify the key attributes of their custom license.

Thanks to the distributed and immutable licensing history on Licens, a client can confidently license the content exclusively. Creators can enable the exclusive license option and set the surcharge price. Then the smart contract verifies that the content has no outstanding licenses. If there are none, the content can be licensed exclusively and the smart contract will henceforth reject any new licensing request.

Open License Database

With Licens, it becomes possible for the first time to access the full licensing history of a specific creative on a highly transparent and public blockchain database.

Rights Management

Licens facilitates a digital collaboration process for managing rights and royalties among multiple creators and users. For example, models can release their rights to photographers but receive a royalty from the sales. Or any work with multiple rights holders can be programmed to split royalties among the holders. Users who own recognizable property, and those who want to license images depicting the property, also have access to a system for property release management and royalty splits.

Smart contracts help make it all happen by adding scale and automation to rights management on Licens. Transactions and royalty allocations are transformed into automated, real-time, P2P payments, with the smart contract ensuring a high level of efficiency and transparency.

14. Creative Commons Licenses