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The Associated Press signs on to journalism blockchain startup Civil

Tim Maytom

AP headquarters in New York (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)The Associated Press (AP) has announced a two-part deal with blockchain journalism startup Civil Media Company that will see the AP license its content to the Civil network's 14 newsrooms. The second part of the deal will see the two firms work together on blockchain technology designed to help newsrooms track the flow of their content and enforce licensing rights.

Civil Media Company aims to support a network of quality news broadcasters and publishers through the sale of cryptocurrency, while also using blockchain-based technology to protect journalism and support the bodies that produce it.

The deal with the AP gives Civil access to the news giant's considerable experience with licensing, product design and business practices, while the AP gains access to new customers including ZigZag and Block Club Chicago, while also providing it with a chance to explore how blockchain technology can be applied to digital content.

Civil has already attracted $5m (£3.87m) in funding from Consensys, which has invested in Ethereum blockchain-based companies, and the support of figures including Raju Narisetti, former CEO of Gizmodo Media Group and Emily Bell, founding director of Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism. According to Matthew Iles, CEO and founder of Civil, as much as 70 per cent of the content published online by big media firms is being republished without any credit or compensation, a problem that Civil is aiming to address.

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

Civil and the AP are planning to release a product in three months' time, and while pricing hasn't been fully decided, there will likely be a free version available to newsrooms who are part of Civil's growing network.