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Published February 20, 2019

Cameron Chell, Chairman, co-creator and co-architect of KODAKOne, discussed the American technology corporation’s image rights platform at Los Angeles-based StartEngine’s ICO 2.0 Summit last year at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica.  

A product of WENN Digital Inc. under a brand licensing agreement with Kodak, KODAKOne is a blockchain-based IP rights management and registration tool for digital images. The seeds for the platform were actually planted at the first StartEngine conference in November 2017.

The KODAKOne platform is an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register new and archive work for licensing on the platform. KODAKCoin meanwhile allows professional and amateur photographers to receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale on a secure blockchain-based platform. The platform’s web crawling capabilities monitor and protect the IP of the images registered upon it.

The platform can detect unlicensed use of images and efficiently manage the post-licensing process whereby photographers are rewarded for their labor. The platform’s revenue streams are transactions fees, USCO registration fees or copyright office fees, post-licensing management fees, direct licensing of stock imagery, big data, and some additional revenue streams. The company has, altogether, chosen to focus on images.

“The image economy is massive,” Mr. Chell told the StartEngine conference in the late afternoon of a sunny southern California day. “[The KodakONE platform] registers these images, it does smart licensing, transparent accounting of payments, instant payments, image tracking, post-licensing management and its a distribution platform, and finally its a community marketplace.” Blockchain is what allows the rights management platform to be based in a completely trustless environment.

Stakeholders in such a system are first and foremost photographers, including amateurs, semi-professionals, and professionals. But, also, other industry players have a key role in the KODAKOne community.

That includes IP buyers, like brands, media and creatives; local, national and international image agencies; and partners, including brands, service providers and advertisers. The key value propositions, according to Mr. Chell, are the replacement of fiat currencies, real-time transactions, and rights holders who can fully design their licensing platform or structure. He says post licensing management wasn’t available until blockchain.

“Cash can’t track post-licensing management, cash can’t pay things instantly.”

So, why did Kodak decide to co-create such a blockchain-based platform?

“Kodak was decimated by digital,” Mr. Chell said. “They were instrumental in developing the digital camera…but they were a classic case of a company [too smart for their own good] as it relates to digital… [Digital turned] content into a file. You could share it, you could copy it, it was hard to track, it could move quickly, it was so many great things. But what it wasn’t good at was monetizing. Who really got hurt during that process were the content providers.”

KODAKOne’s vision is to place power back in the hands of these same content providers. “[Our] thesis is there is a renaissance about to happen,” he said. “It’s going to happen now because for the first time we can take digital and we can quantify it, we can blockchain it, we can track it, police it, enforce it, and pay for it instantly. That is a big deal. While the digitization of content was great because it created sharing, [it devalued] the actual original content. Now that is changed, and that is why Kodak wants to be involved in this.”

Mr. Chell adds: “However big digital is, digital rights management because of the blockchain, is ten times as big….Ultimately, we deliver trust, money and we save time for stakeholders in this ecosystem.”

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