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Attribution Engine

The six product principles at the heart of what we build at Pex

Brian Boys

At Pex, we are fortunate enough to have folks from diverse backgrounds with interests and expertise in many things. From 80s pop, to anime, to bee keeping, you’ll quickly find our team has niche skills. But at our core, we are a product-led technology company, and our common thread is an interest in the technical and scientific world. 

I remember having a long conversation with one of our tech leads about inertia and change. Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its velocity. To overcome inertia you need to apply a force. Inertia is a concept of the physical world but has business world applications. Things stay the same until an outside force is applied to them. At Pex, that’s how we view the state of licensing, particularly as it relates to copyright on content-sharing platforms. 

Bringing positive change for the creator economy

I start with a reflection on inertia and change because change is what we are interested in at Pex. Our problem set has always been focused on how to use technology to make content ownership more transparent and attribution easier – how to be the force applied to the current licensing regime and make the change we believe is essential. As SVP of Product, this is something I encourage my team to think about every day. 

Pex’s superpower is identifying copies of content or copyright with more accuracy, speed, and scale than anyone else. In an economy where creativity can be rewarded in many ways, we believe that attribution is foundational to making sure creativity is rewarded. This is why our solution is called Attribution Engine. It is the first real-time marketplace for copyrighted content enabling the fair and transparent use of copyright online.

Our six product principles 

As we look at the change needed in order to move away from existing licensing practices and toward ones that encourage legal and innovative content creation, we follow these six principles. 

Identification needs to be fast, accurate, and at the speed and scale of the Internet 

From the moment our CEO Rasty Turek started Pex, we have been obsessed with improving our identification technology. Our Research and Development team drives this innovation. When I joined Pex we were about 30 people, but 5 people were dedicated to working on ideas like our melody matching. We have always believed that investment in ideas is fundamental to what we do and how we do it. We are now more than 100 people and our team is working on thorny identification problems, always pushing the limits of what can be done and how quickly. 

Attribution is critical and metadata is fundamental

Metadata management has needed better solutions for a long time. A rightsholder’s ability to share ownership information is essential for rights management and proper attribution. However, the transfer of data will always lead to inaccuracies, and bad data in equals bad data out. But there is an opportunity to transform this using machine learning to make metadata issues transparent and easy to solve. We believe metadata needs to be easily updated, transportable, identifiable everywhere, centralized, and fundamental.

Platforms are central to the creator economy

People need ways to distribute their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Content-sharing platforms need people to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. This symbiotic relationship is central to our approach. We partner with content-sharing platforms to provide necessary tools, so they can focus on their topline, while we protect their bottom line through identification, licensing, payments, and dispute resolution. We believe that Attribution Engine will allow new ideas and platforms to thrive, propelling the creator economy forward.

People need to be able to innovate around licensing practices

Currently, we live in a blanket licensing world that doesn’t allow for much flexibility or transparency and there are not enough resources to negotiate custom agreements or pay the right individuals accurately or quickly. We believe licenses need to be issued in real time, before content is published, and flexible options like micro-licensing need to be available in addition to blanket deals. We make it easy for platforms to offer opt-in monetization terms to rightsholders, and for rightsholders to accept those terms on a per-use basis, all while getting paid from the first view or stream

People need to be paid quickly and transparently

People like to see the fruits of their labor as quickly as possible, even in small sums. It’s why the creator economy has already fundamentally altered the nature of work for millions of people around the globe. We believe the current approach to payments is a disincentive to many, and the lack of transparency means people who should get paid often don’t. We believe payments need to be compliant, simple, transparent, and fast.

Disputes resolution is part of any fair system

Disputes are a given, but we need to solve them fairly and quickly. Copyright allows for exceptions, understanding that these rights need to be subsumed to broader rights around parody, education, and others. But current claiming and dispute systems are not neutral by nature and we don’t think that’s healthy. We believe balance is important, not just for all parties involved, but for our broader civil society. We believe dispute resolution needs to be simple, quick, transparent, accessible, and fair.

Building Attribution Engine

This is the first blog in a series on how we’ve built Attribution Engine. Our team will dive deeper into each of these principles and how it’s helped us shape this revolutionary product. 

Interested in working with us as we build groundbreaking products like Attribution Engine? View our open positions.

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