Easy and free priority proof with the help of a bank transfer.

June 20, 2022

The first person to create a work is considered its author. Therefore, it is of decisive importance for the enforcement of copyright claims to prove the date of creation of a work. Some time ago, our colleague Dr. Ralf Schönmeyer devised a method for this purpose, which we will briefly present here.

Proof of priority, which documents the time of creation of a work, can be achieved very easily with the help of a bank transfer by entering a "digital fingerprint" (a so-called secure hash value) of the document to be protected in the text line of a transfer directly after the work has been created. A hash value has the property that it is unique for each document. This means that there are no two different documents that have the same hash value. There are a number of established procedures for calculating hash values that are used worldwide, e.g. the so-called SHA-2 standard. It calculates the SHA-2 hash value from the content of documents and can be represented as a letter/number combination with typically 64 characters. It thus fits into the text field of a bank transfer. Whoever generates such a hash value must have the contents of a document.
The date of the bank transfer with this hash value is, in turn, proof that the document existed exactly like this at that time and cannot be manipulated afterwards. Voilà - ready is the forgery-proof proof of priority, with which it can be shown that one possessed a certain document at the earliest possible time.
Incidentally, the amount of money contained in the transfer is irrelevant (ideally, the accounts involved should be in one's own possession so that everything remains in one hand). The only thing that is exploited is the fact that bank transfers have a very reliable execution date that cannot be changed or even deleted.

Dr. Ralf Schönmeyer developed this idea some time ago and published it so that it is freely available to everyone. This article explains the topic in more detail. A free program can also be downloaded from the project website, which can be used to generate SHA-2 hash values of documents in no time at all. So far, we are not aware of any other method that can be used to generate priority proofs so easily, securely and cheaply.

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William Gemkow
Member of the Executive Board, Kappus
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