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KODAKOne Uses Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency to Manage Image Rights

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 15, 2018

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On January 9th,at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Kodak announced the image rights management platform KODAKOne, created in partnership with WENN Digital. The platform will utilize blockchain technology to permit photographers to register, manage, archive, and monetize their images seamlessly from a single platform. Photographers will be able to license their work using the KodakCoin cryptocurrency. The platform will also assist photographers in getting unlicensed users to license the images.

The blockchain technology will create an “encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers”. Blockchain creates a “block” of transactional records linked into a “chain” by hash functions, essentially creating a digital fingerprint that follows a file as it travels the Internet. Image transactions and licenses will be stored in a decentralized database. KODAKOne will also provide web crawlers to detect the unauthorized use of images, after which the platform will manage the “post licensing process,” as KODAKOne describes it. Payments for image use will occur immediately in KodakCoin.

Kodak’s announcement generated a great deal of excitement, at least among investors; shares of Eastman Kodak stock more than tripled after the announcement. How effective the platform will be in addressing photographers’ (and visual artists’) IP management needs is still in question. 

As Nancy Wolfe and Kyle Brett wrote on the DMLA blog, previous attempts at creative rights databases – for example, the Global Database Repertoire for music rights – have failed. Additionally, questions remain on how KODAKOne will address infringements. Will infringers be asked to pay for the infringement, and if so, will that amount be a reasonable licensing fee? 

The ICO (Initial Coin Offering) for KodakCoin has been delayed from the original January 31stopening. Because of US regulations, the over 40,000 investors who are interested in joining the token sale must be thoroughly vetted by Kodak. KODAKOne promises that progress is being made on the ICO, and that presale rounds will shortly close. Interested visual artists can subscribe to KODAKOne’s email list to receive news on the platform.

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