Attribution Engine is currently able to identify over 125 Million images from over 30 image sharing platforms. Our goal is to reach 1 billion images in the coming months by inviting creators to register their visual works and partnering with platforms and organizations that support attribution for photographers, artists and the cultural heritage, including Getty Images, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Digital Public Library of America and Europeana.
Attribution Engine is also the first search engine completely powered by open and decentralized data in Mediachain.
We set out to build a shared, open, permissionless system where all of the world’s media metadata can coexist; this prototype was the first, small step towards that dream, and now it’s time to look back at its successes and failures and inform the next, bigger (!!) step.
Based on experiments with the testnet, these are the areas we realized needed the most attention in the next iteration:
Guest post: Last week at the terrific inaugural RightsTech Summit, a wide range of very knowledgeable people came together to discuss the current state of digital rights management, and more importantly, the direction that new technologies are taking this field.
If I had to sum up the common themes from the event in two words, they would be: Metadata and Standardization.
Figuring out if, how much, and which metadata about digital assets – such as a song, or an e-book – can be shared, especially among companies with different goals and interests, was one sub-theme. Also discussed was the right mix of technologies to facilitate sharing and tracking of metadata; of course, blockchain technology was a key topic of discussion. But we also covered other distributed technologies that address not just the management of the metadata, but also of the underlying content.
Something that struck me was the extent to which there was agreement among participants — ranging from start-ups to established industry players — that many of the best new use cases being proposed for the “rightstech” industries depend on contracts for digital assets being standardized and simplified, and ultimately rendered in machine-readable code. Continue reading “Making the Creative Commons Smarter”
A few weeks ago Jesse Walden of Mediachain Labs asked me a deceptively simple question: What would a Creative Commons-type license look like if in addition to requesting attribution (as is required by many open licenses), the license also required licensees to let the author know about any re-use?
This exploration is a thought-piece, designed to spur discussion around new technology and the commons. Nothing I say here has been endorsed by the Creative Commons (“CC”) organization, nor am I advocating adoption of any specific new license by that organization. We are simply using the existing public models as a leaping-off point. We are calling the license Gratitude 1.0 and while I’d urge you to read through the background information first, if you want to jump to the license itself, you can read it in full here. All comments and criticisms welcome!
A new company operating out of a remote Brooklyn warehouse aims to make it easy to know who made something, even if the part shared on Tumblr or Facebook was only cropped out of a larger work. Mediachain is building a means a system that can identify creative work (visual, musical and literary) around the web and easily display the metadata from its inception. If it all works out, the anarchic distribution of creative work across social media will turn those posts into a vector for discovering the creators behind the work.
The team takes a bit of a nod from BitTorrent. That network created a unique hash for each piece of media, which Mediachain co-founder Denis Nazarov referred to as “content addressing.”
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.”
New York-based Mediachain has become the latest blockchain startup to join the portfolios of VC heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. The two firms announced today that they led a $1.5m seed round for the digital media startup. RRE Ventures, Digital Currency Group and LDV Capital also participated in the round, as did angel investors Alexis Ohanian, William Mougayar, Kanyi Maqubela, David Lee, Mathieu Drouin and Brian Message.
The funding comes four months after the launch of Mediachain’s core product, a metadata protocol that envisions content creators timestamping their work to the bitcoin blockchain while also storing it with the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).