Kodak cameras (Getty images)
“Science and technology can solve all the world's problems, and historically it has been shown to make the world better and better,” Zoltan Istvan
Kodak (KODK), one of the oldest names in the imaging business, is leveraging the blockchain technology to fix problems that have been plaguing the photography industry. Kodak and WENN Digital joined hands to launch a blockchain-powered image rights management platform, dubbed as KODAKOne along with a photo-centric cryptocurrency, known as KODAKCoin.
The heart of Kodak’s platform is the distributed ledger technology and the ‘token economy’ which are being used to ensure that individual photographers and agencies are able to protect ownership rights and authorization of their work while generating a new revenue stream.
The Problems This Solves
Photographers all around the world are facing problems of copyright infringement, piracy, licensing and control of IP; these problems have compounded with the Internet boom and digitalization of photographs. There are cases where stolen images are used extensively but the photographers do not get their due credit.
Since the control and rights on images has been difficult, the practice of stock photography has become popular over the years where marketplace sites such as Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia, 123RF, among others, have provided an organized way to buy or sell licensed images, thereby helping taking care of issues like copyright violation.
What This New Platform Actually Does
Kodak’s platform takes the whole photography and imaging industry to a new level with the features of distributed ledger technology like encryption, decentralization, immutability, transparency, and security being utilized to create a digital ledger of ‘ownership rights’ for photographers. The digital ledger will secure the work of photographers by registering work and then allowing them to license the same for use (buy/sell) within the platform.
KODAKCoin will be the currency to operate on the platform and will allow participating photographers, both professional and amateur, to receive payment for licensed work almost instantly via Smart Contracts. The platform will provide continual web crawling in order to monitor and protect the IP of the registered images. In case of detection of unlicensed usage of images, the platform can manage the post-licensing process in order to ensure that the photographers are duly rewarded.
Kodak’s project is not just employing blockchain to real-world use, but it is also bringing forth the concept of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in a regulated manner. The token that powers the KODAKOne platform, KODAKCoin, will be used for its image economy worldwide for royalty accounting, licensing and payments.
“Engaging with a new platform, it is critical that photographers know their work and their income is handled securely, with trust, which is exactly what we did with KODAKCoin,” said WENN Digital CEO Jan Denecke. He added, “Subject to the highest standards of compliance, 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.”
WENN Digital brings on board its expertise in proprietary blockchain development, big data, copyright law, AI-enabled image recognition and post licensing monetization systems.
The official KODAKOne ICO launch is scheduled to begin on January 31, 2018 and is open to accredited investors from the U.S., UK, Canada and other select countries. Kodak’s ICO is being issued under SEC guidelines as a security token under Regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) first touched upon the topic of cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings in July 2017 wherein it clearly stated the applicability of the U.S. federal securities to a new paradigm—virtual organizations or capital-raising entities that use blockchain technology.
In December 2017, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton had issued another statement on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Since then, no initial coin offerings have been registered with the SEC.
Kodak’s revolutionary platform will provide a secure and seamless way to register, manage and monetize creative assets, while on a broader scale, its entry in the decentralized world will provide a boost to the whole ecosystem of cryptocurrencies. With KODAKOne, Kodak is embracing its mission statement, namely that “Kodak is a technology company focused on imaging.”