Blockchain: Good or Bad for Art and Artists?

An artistic project has launched a crowdfunding program to highlight the perceived negative influence of blockchain technology on art.

The project, based in the UK, aims to print an illustrated book titled: Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain to explore the effects of this new technology on the artistic fields. The funding will also go towards hosting a public discourse program in London. The project underscores some artists’ uneasiness at the thought of this new technology being introduced into the world of art.

Source: Blockchain: Good or Bad for Art and Artists?

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How User-Friendly Are Museum Image Rights?

If you’ve ever considered downloading a digital image of an artwork from a museum’s website, you probably know rather well that the world of copyright is an incredibly murky and difficult one to navigate. Even if artworks are in the public domain — in the US, this means copyright has expired, 70 years after an artist’s death — many cultural institutions still claim copyright on the digital representations that they have created and share on their websites. While exceptions largely allow users to download these pictures for personal, noncommercial, or educational purposes, these online legal conditions are often still difficult to completely understand, or sometimes, even find.

Display At Your Own Risk is a primarily web-based experimental exhibition that examines the current status of digital cultural heritage and public accessibility to it through the online collections of some of the world’s most physically frequented museums.

Source: How User-Friendly Are Museum Image Rights?

Could Blockchains Solve The Web’s Image Attribution Problem? 

The success of Mediachain depends in large part on getting a lot of people to use it. For far, it’s secured some big partners—MoMA, Getty Images, and the Digital Public Library of America are all on board—but their next big step after securing funding is building relationships with more institutions and companies. That’s been a challenge—especially with art institutions that are reticent to even digitize their collections.

But Mediachain could solve that problem, too. “If a museum puts an image of an artwork online, it goes out all across the Internet and [museums] don’t know where it’s going without metrics or analytics,” says Nazarov. “One of the promises of Mediachain is it could enable you to know. We see it as enabling these institutions so they’re less afraid of opening their data. They could see open data as a business advantage to drive new types of engagement and interactions with collections and their organization.”

Source: Could Blockchains Solve The Web’s Image Attribution Problem? | Co.Design | business + design

Deloitte Demos Blockchain Use Case for Art Industry 

The use of blockchain data to establish provenance for artwork has attracted the attention of more than a few innovators and engineers in the space. Now, professional services firm Deloitte has unveiled its own approach to the use case.

Deloitte’s proof-of-concept, dubbed ‘ArtTracktive’, was developed by its Luxemourg office, and according to the firm, it seeks to provide a channel for distributed information sharing between artists, owners, galleries and anyone involved in the transportation of an artwork.

Source: Deloitte Demos Blockchain Use Case for Art Industry – CoinDesk

Music’s Middleman Problem: It’s Not What You Think

headshot-final-200x300Venture capitalist and former music startup founder David Pakman has compiled some grim statistics on the survival rate of VC-backed music services.

“Since 1997, according to PitchBook, approximately 175 digital music companies were created and funded by venture investors. Of those, approximately 33 were acquired by larger companies, often for less money than their investors put in,” he writes in a blog post on Medium, taken in part from testimony he gave last year before the Copyright Royalty Board. “Of those who have exited, I believe only seven achieved meaningful venture returns for their investors by returning more than $25 million in profit to their investors (Last.FM, Spinner, MP3.com, Gracenote, Thumbplay, Pandora and possibly The Echo Nest), representing an investor success rate of only approximately 4%, far below that of other internet and technology market segments. Only two have achieved an IPO, and at least 15 companies have resulted in a distressed exit and/or filed for bankruptcy so far, for an 8.6% failure rate to date.”

Music business and technology consultant Andy Edwards offers a similarly dire analysis in a post on Music Business Worldwide, concluding that only one fully licensed music startup has managed a successful exit since 2004, and that was Last.fm, which only became fully licensed ahead of its $280m sale to CBS in 2007.

Both Pakman and Edwards puts the blame for that grim toll squarely on onerous licensing demands of the major record companies. Continue reading “Music’s Middleman Problem: It’s Not What You Think”

France’s State-run Public Investment Bank Invests in Blockchain Art Project at Artprice 

Artprice plans to use the funds to invest further in its IT strategy and particularly their Art Market Blockchain – a distributed database containing specifications of years of complaints and lawsuits between the different segments of the Art Market chain and, notably, their relations with tax authorities and State judicial and customs services.

In the longer term the Blockchain will allow a considerable improvement in the payment of reproduction rights and other related rights to recognised copyright companies like the ADAGP in France which collects copyright duties in 43 countries.

Source: France’s State-run Public Investment Bank Invests in Blockchain Art Project at Artprice – Blockchain News

The Impact of the Blockchain Goes Beyond Financial Services

During the first generation of the internet, many creators of intellectual property were not properly compensated. Musicians, playwrights, journalists, photographers, artists, fashion designers, scientists, architects, and engineers were not only beholden to record labels, publishers, galleries, film studios, universities, and large corporations (vestiges of the pre-digital age) —these inventors now also had to deal with digital piracy that became possible on the web.

Blockchain technology provides a new platform for creators of intellectual property to get the value they create. Consider the digital registry of artwork, including the certificates of authenticity, condition, and ownership. A new startup, Ascribe, which runs on the blockchain, lets artists themselves upload digital art, watermark it as the definitive version, and transfer it, so similar to bitcoin, it moves from one person’s collection to another’s. The technology solves the intellectual property world’s equivalent of the double-spend problem better than existing digital rights management systems; and artists could decide whether, when, and where they wanted to deploy it.

Source: The Impact of the Blockchain Goes Beyond Financial Services