Does the KodakOne announcement indicate their intentions to capitalize on the crypto hype or is it inherently valuable?
I recently sat down with Jan Denecke, CEO of KodakOne, and Philipp Köhn, COO of KodakOne at a quaint café located in Venice, California. We spent the better part of an hour digging deep into the tedious compensatory process photographers face, and how Wenn Digital (the company partnering with Kodak to develop the KodakOne blockchain protocol) plans to empower photographers and protect photographers’ intellectual property.
What problem is KodakOne trying to solve?
As it stands, the infringement of one’s photograph takes about one to two clicks. Within a very short period of time, a photographer’s content can be unrightfully used on hundreds of websites.
In the current space, photographers contract technical providers to run web crawlers (which essentially scope out the entire web to identify where their photos are being used). Upon realizing that their photo has been used x number of times, a photographer will then have to hire a legal team to identify, and contact the website administrators, and depending on the jurisdiction, issue cease and desist letters.
As a result, photographers spend considerable time and money fulfilling the time-consuming and expensive responsibilities of a de factor project manager in infringement checking, according to Köhn. Significant amounts of money must be distributed proportionally to all parties involved in the process; this oftentimes defeats the entire purpose of a photographer’s seeking compensation in the first place.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that the moment a digital asset is released on the Internet, you don’t know where it’s going. Blockchain is solving that problem- you’ll know exactly where the image is going, and you’ll know how to control it.” — Jan Denecke, CEO KodakOne
Legal boundaries concerning copyright infringement vary from territory to territory. By creating a distributed ledger and integrating artificial intelligence to run crawlers, the middleman is eliminated (which cuts down on time and costs for the photographer). The photographer clearly sees where the photo is being used and thus be compensated accordingly, with KodakCoin. The ability to track the distribution of photographs on the distributed ledger can hopefully turn would-be infringers into future clients.
How will they solve the problem in the short-term?
Over the course of the next twelve months, the KodakOne team will focus heavily on product development, community building and management. The KodakOne platform is slated to have a beta opening in December, with curated partnerships with some renowned photography agencies and photographers.
The full launch of the KodakOne platform is slated for Q3 and Q4 of 2019. One of the most critical points, according to Köhn, is building the community and inviting photographers from all over the world to take advantage of the KodakOne platform. The team even envisions a marketplace, to be established later down the road, that streamlines all verticals within the image creation process.
The KodakCoin would enable photographers to book flights, book hotel rooms, contract out models, and purchase camera equipment from major manufacturers. A huge hurdle that could prevent the network effect with the protocol is simply unawareness of how the blockchain could benefit image creators. Leading up to the official launch of the KodakOne platform in Q3 and Q4 of 2019, significant efforts will be made in outreach and community management to educate the public and develop the virtual photographer economy.
Its most recent task on the roadmap: wrapping up Reg-D investment approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (which would enable high net-worth or institutional investors to participate in the ICO).
What do you think? Will KodakOne effectively empower photographers with their protocol?