Issues about copyrights seem to pop up every few weeks. Just this week Carol Highsmith, a photographer who donated her life’s work to the Library of Congress, is suing Getty Images for “gross misuse” of her photographs and copyright infringement. As of late, the only surefire way to copyright your images was to register them with the US Copyright Office, a lengthy and expensive route if you register one photo at a time. Blockai is an new player that wants to help change the face of copyright protection.
While copyrights are more corporate centered and rather vague, it is not necessary for artist and creatives to register with the US Copyright Office to maintain a copyright (though it certainly does help in legal issues). Blockai wants to change the way we register and protect our work online, through the power of the blockchain.
For those unfamiliar with the blockchain, it is the public ledger used to verify bitcoin transactions. Each transaction is timestamped and issued a unique file record that is virtually impossible to replicate or manipulate. Blockai wants to assist artists and photographers by making it easy to timestamp your protected works and attempting to spot those infringing on your intellectual property by scouring the Web for offenders.
The blockchain is the perfect solution for providing proof of creation. It’s a permanent immutable record. Meaning, once the record is there it’s there forever and will never change.” – CEO of Blockai Nathen Lands
Registration of images is a simple as drag-and-drop. Once registered, you will receive a copyright certificate with a timestamp proving the time it was created. If Blockai finds that someone is reproducing your work without permission you can send them a copy of the certificate and issue a cease and desist or DMCA notice, make websites have to remove your work or be legally liable.
Does it have a legal foot to stand on? According to Lands, it hasn’t happened yet, but “we believe that a record created on the blockchain using Blockai would serve as sufficient evidence in a court of law.” And hopefully you won’t have to go to court at all, since sending the certificate seems “a lot more serious than sending them an Instagram picture.”
Like Bitcoin, there is no centralized government that is backing the the project. According to Blockai, “To be rewarded damages in a lawsuit, you need to register with the Copyright Office. If you have proof of publication, you have 5 years to register with the Government.” To register with the US Copyright office is $55 per registration and you can upload hundreds of pictures at a time.
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Copyright registration has been being stuck in the 70s, Blockai might change the face on copyright protection and bring it to the modern day. If you are interested in giving it a try head over to the Blockai website and give it a try; I know I will incorporated it into my workflow.