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Does the Recently Announced Kodak Coin Do Anything to Help Protect Photographers Rights?

January 23rd, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, Brian Balduf (CEO of VHT) mentioned to me that he was hopeful that the newly announced Kodak Coin (blockchain initiative) would help in protecting photographers’ rights. At the time, I’d not heard of it so I did some research on the subject. Here’s what I found:

  1. The announcement
  2. Analysis at the TheVerge.com
  3. The KodakOne.com website
  4. Jared Polin’s video on Kodak Coin

I agree with Jared, you have to be careful not to pay any attention to the Kodak name since they license the Kodak name to almost anyone for any product. And while there is a precedent for selling artwork through blockchain technology, it’s not clear why you have to use a blockchain powered platform and virtual coin to achieve protection for photographic rights.

I will stand by to be amazed if this becomes popular!

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2 Responses to “Does the Recently Announced Kodak Coin Do Anything to Help Protect Photographers Rights?”

  • Two things are immediately red flags. As Jared pointed out, Kodak is gone and the company now trading as “Kodak” is an investment group that purchased the name and a patent portfolio. The second is a very brief paragraph that intimates that KodakOne’s web crawlers will seek out infringing images that have been registered through their service and take action on behalf of the photographer.

    I was a manufacturer in the audio industry for many years and had seen well established companies with years of history go out of business and their brand name(s) being bought and slapped on loads of cheap imported products. Altec Lansing was one of the earliest loudspeaker companies that built a range of products that were used in movie theaters and stadiums. Sadly they failed to keep up with a changing marketplace, folded up, sold the assests and it wasn’t long before nasty plastic “computer” speakers were bearing the logo.

    There are already private image management firms that will search for infringements of images for free if you assign them the rights to enforce your copyright. Nobody in any of those businesses publicly publishes their contracts which could be as bad as 90% for them and 10% for the photograph. They might not even pay out for settlements under a certain amount and only quarterly, semi-annually or annually depending on what they have recovered. I didn’t see any contracts on the KodakOne page.

    It’s not always the best move to pursue an infringement claim for a monetary reward. The goal might only be to get the photos removed from a website with a reasonable reimbursement to ones attorney to write a scary letter. It might also not be worth bothering with at all. If you license your own images, you are in a better position to know who is licensed to use your photos. It would look really bad for a customer of friend to get a threatening letter from a third party enforcement company that winds up taking a long time to get sorted out.

    This set up only seems to differ in that there is a digital currency type component to it. I don’t see how that adds as much value as it will add cost. It’s better to register your images and work with your own attorney when you find infringements of your work to decide what might be the best move.

  • I would steer clear of anything requiring a virtual currency. That $200 payment you received today, could be worth anywhere between 0 and $400 tomorrow.

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