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Image Licensing Through Blockchain with KODAKOne at Money 20/20, Europe 2018

Matthew Walker (left) talks about KODAKOne, a blockchain for image licensing

Matthew Walker is the President of KODAKOne, a blockchain specifically designed to process image licensing requests efficiently. Yes, that’s the KODAK of yore, the famous photography processing company that bit the dust back in the day. Now they’re back with a vengeance. As Matthew pointed out their share price tripled this January, so they’re down but not out. Also, they’re the 16th most recognizable brand on earth, so there’s that.

Matthew built KODAKOne to fill a huge gap, the image licensing industry’s failure to account for the sprawling size and blazing speed of the internet. He described it as the most obvious use case for blockchain apart from the financial applications. When he pointed out that replicating and downloading images from the internet was illegal, he also listened for gasps from the crowd. They were warranted, he said, since most people weren’t aware that any crime was being committed.

It was due to this lack of awareness and the easy access that the internet provided, that the business model of the image industry was driven to ruin. It also drove down the price of images and the licensing fees.

As it stands, the photographer, or really any individual not represented by a major company that creates a video, a video game, music or even takes a photo, cannot license it efficiently. The process takes 30-90 days. In between it all is the agents the individual has to deal with. The artists get royalty statements from them which they are unable to verify, what’s more, is the agents are sometimes sublicensing from other agents in different continents or countries.

KODAKOne removes all of that. It is a hybrid blockchain that incorporates AI. The AI, which was created with the help of a “German Company”, sifts through millions of images online until it encounters an infringement. It then automatically processes information on that image and clears the chain of rights. This removes the need to report back to the person in with the copyright of the image. The industry wouldn’t be able to scale if all permissions had to be granted by the licensee.  

Matthew wasn’t finished yet; he revealed the KODAKOne platform incorporates documenting proof of ownership, licensing the history of various images, videos and music files and a smart contracting system. Of course, the blockchain also has the option for a transaction layer that allows a near-frictionless way to pay stakeholders and license holders.

Matthew outlined the most controversial and ambitious part of KODAKOne in the end, Post-licensing. The act of post-licensing is to find people that have used images without consent, as in those who have infringed, and asking them for a higher fee than that required for upfront licensing. Post-licensing violates copyright law at the moment, especially in the United States, however, Matthew believes it’s only a matter of time until that domino falls.

KODAKOne is currently operating with a regulatory compliant ICO to make sure that investors do not see it as a “pump and dump” scheme. The SEC has overseen their ICO as their parent company, KODAK, is listed on NASDAQ.

 

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