On 9 January 2018, Kodak and WENN Digital, in a licensing partnership, announced the launch of the KodakOne image rights management platform and KodakCoin, a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management. Ostensibly to help photographers control and encash the rights to their photographs or images, KodakCoin’s initial coin offering opens on January 31st, under SEC guidelines as a security token, and it’s open to US, UK, Canadian, and other investors.
Utilizing blockchain technology, the KodakOne platform will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform. With KodakCoin, participating photographers are invited to take part in a new economy for photography, receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and for both professional and amateur photographers, sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform. KodakOne platform provides continual web crawling in order to monitor and protect the IP of the images registered in the KodakOne system. Where unlicensed usage of images is detected, the KodakOne platform can efficiently manage the post-licensing process in order to reward photographers.
Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a press statement, “For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem.” Shares in Eastman Kodak Co. more than doubled yesterday after it said it would launch the Kodakcoin, “a photocentric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.” The Kodak shares price more than doubled during the day (9 Janaury 2018) on the NYSE and were quoted at US$ 6.85 when markets closed.
“Engaging with a new platform, it is critical photographers know their work and their income is handled securely and with trust, which is exactly what we did with KODAKCoin,” said WENN Digital CEO Jan Denecke. “Subject to the highest standards of compliance, KODAKCoin is all about paying photographers fairly and giving them an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new economy tailored for them, with secure asset rights management built right in.”
Kodak emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 after restructuring the company and selling most of its patents to companies including Apple and Microsoft. An important focus of the Rochester, New York-based imaging company is on the printing and packaging industry with software, hardware and consumable products and services.