In exactly 13 days, 13 hours, and 2 minutes from the writing of this article, Kodak is set to launch KODAKOne, a blockchain-based “image rights management and protection system.”
Unlike other companies using blockchain technology primarily as a marketing tool (I’m looking at you, Long Blockchain Corp.), Kodak intends to put it to its rightful purpose: a secure ledger for information transactions.
Kodak’s CEO Jeff Clarke put it this thusly in a statement to BusinessWire:
“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem.”
The “problem” being referred to, of course, is maintaining control over your images once you’ve placed them on the web. Watermarks notwithstanding, Instagram is known as a feeding frenzy for sites and others looking for “free” content; there’s even whole blog posts dealing with what to do when this happens to you.
So, how does KODAKOne combat this type of theft? That’s where blockchain comes in, using a two-pronged method to ensure your work is only published legally.
First, your images are “registered,” serving as proof that they are yours, and saving that information, along with a “smart contract,” in the blockchain. Then, 24/7, AI-powered “continual web crawling” is enabled, continually surfing the net for copies of your image, alerting you when it has found any unauthorized publications. Finally, any and all transactions are stored in the blockchain as well, providing instant payment to the seller as well as peace of mind that they are protected.
WENN Digital’s CEO, Jen Denecke, who partnered with Kodak on the venture, describe their motivations to BusinessWire:
“…it is critical photographers know their work and their income is handled securely and with trust, which is exactly what we did…KODAKCoin is all about paying photographers fairly and giving them an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new economy tailored for them, with secure asset rights management built right in.”
Though these guys sure can talk the talk, we’ll have to see whether their actions end up being as noble as their words.
Feature Image Courtesy Kodak