The use of blockchain to protect the interests of copyright holders has long been one of the most interesting potential uses for the relatively new technology. Kodak's announcement of being one of the first movers in the field has quite rightly sparked a lot of interest, but many questions still remain to be answered in relation to how such a service would work and whether the copyright holders will see a real benefit from the employment of blockchain technology.
Market adoption of a new digital file format which Kodak can control and monitor through its technology (and therefore monetise) seems to be one of the main hurdles that Kodak faces - however if the main digital photo distributors and libraries see the value in this venture (the likes of Getty, Shutterstock etc.) then Kodak's technology may be the perfect way to take back control of the billions of images flying around the internet.
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Kodak's other initiative, the KodakCoin, is being created as part of an effort to build a global ledger of picture rights ownership that photographers can add their work to. Associated KodakOne software will be used to crawl the web and find pictures that have been used without permission. The company said it would then "manage the licensing process," so the photographer can be paid, in KodakCoin. "Kodak has always sought to democratise photography and make licensing fair to artists," said Kodak chief executive Jeff Clarke. "These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that."