LBRY is the decentralized market for digital items and content, created to provide a truly global and censorship-free platform where publishers can express themselves and monetize their art, while consumers can freely purchase any content without restrictions or centralized rankings.
LBRY does this by creating an association between a unique name and a piece of digital content. While this system resembles that of a DNS it differs in many key aspects. LBRY is able to associate the content and unique name, not through a proprietary service or network, but as a permissionless protocol.
The LBRY system differs from current content distribution solutions in many ways, the most important of which is its decentralized nature which allows it to be a true community-driven platform. There are no middlemen or middleman fees in LBRY, therefore everyone is free to publish and download whatever they want, regardless of the location or subject matter.
Since the platform is completely decentralized and hosted by the nodes that run it, LBRY is resistant to hacks and server downtime. The distributed nature of LBRY also ensures that the rules and fees of the platform cannot be changed without the consent of the community.
“Every other publishing system requires trusting an intermediary that can unilaterally change the rules on you. What happens when you build your business on YouTube or Amazon and they change fees? Or Apple drops your content because the Premier of China thought your comedy went too far?”
How does it work?
When someone wants to publish a piece of content, they do so by accessing the platform, uploading said content and submitting its metadata like description and thumbnail. The file will then be encrypted and split into multiple parts, which will then be stored by hosts. The uploader will be able to stipulate the price of the content if he chooses to charge a fee at all.
When someone wants to watch/read/view/listen to the content that was uploaded, the consumer will send the stipulated amount to the uploader, who will then share the decryption key with the buyer.
The payment is usually made through the LBRY blockchain with LBRY Credits (LBC). The LBRY blockchain acts, not only as the payment system of the platform but also as a database for the content’s name and metadata, which allows it to be immutable and permanent. If the content is set to have another payment method, the seller must run or use a service that provides a private server that enforces payment and provides the accessing keys.
After the payment is made, the LBRY client will then collect and reassemble the previously split pieces of the content. The decryption key is then used to decrypt the file if necessary. If the content is not published directly to LBRY, the metadata can instruct other access methods, such as a Netflix URL.
Although the process may appear complicated at first, the user experience will be familiar and intuitive, as all of this takes place in the background.
“Via an LBRY application, a user will be able to open a familiar interface to quickly and easily discover and purchase a piece of digital content published by anyone in the world.”
Check out the demonstration video of LBRY for windows!
What about illegal content?
When one thinks about decentralized content sharing, piracy is one of the first questions to come to mind. The Bittorrent protocol is an example of such as it is used mainly for sharing copyrighted material. However, several factors make LBRY less than optimal for sharing illegal content.
The first of which would be the LBRY blockchain itself. While this is a pseudonymous system, in which accounts are not connected to personal info, all the transactions are public and record names and content publishing. Since most purchases would take place using LBC, copyright infringement is forever recorded and associated with a certain account.
Since LBRY users are still subject to the DMCA and other laws governing intellectual property, users who publish infringing content are still subject to penalties for doing so. Users who upload content for profit can face serious jail time, something that “for-fun” uploaders (Bittorrent) will not. Furthermore, files whose metadata point to copyright infringement can also be updated or removed by the hosts.