Putting power in the hands of photographers, Binded launches as the world’s first copyright platform
posted Friday, May 26, 2017 at 11:40 AM EDT
You may recall Blockai, a startup dedicated to helping photographers protect their work and ensure that creativity is given proper legal protection. Blockai has rebranded and relaunched as Binded. Binded is the world’s first copyright platform and it is run by a talented team, including co-founder and CEO Nathan Lands, co-founder and CTO Oli Lalonde and engineer Carey Janecka. The trio has extensive experience in the tech industry, including prior experience with successful startups. Janecka even worked as a developer for SpaceX at 15 years old, to help put the immense talent level in perspective.
Copyright is a complicated topic – that’s part of the reason why so many lawyers make a living dealing exclusively with copyright law – and it can be difficult for individuals to not only protect their work, but deal with situations in which their work is stolen or used without permission. So what exactly is Binded and how does it fit in? Binded’s mission is “to make creativity the world’s greatest asset. To support our mission, we’re making copyright simple.” Lands says that “Copyright is an essential part of our world economy, yet no one has built a modern technology company to make copyright useful on the web. Creativity is one of the few things that cannot be replaced by modern technology and in the future it will be even more important that people can make a living using their creativity. Today it's incredibly difficult to identify the copyright owner of a file on the web. Binded will change that.”
As soon as you create an image, Binded wants to help you have a permanent record of that image. Your image is then monitored for any infringement (this feature is currently in beta). If an infringement occurs, Binded gives you actions to take. Further, Binded allows you to easily register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office for additional legal protection.
Takashi Horie, a Binded investor, remarks about copyright that “Copyright is an increasingly critical matter for Asahi Shimbun and all media companies. Binded has the potential to greatly simplify how we manage and protect our copyrights. Binded is going to be a big business!”
You might be thinking that this sounds great – and it does – but what does it cost? Nothing. It’s absolutely free. One of Binded’s core values is the democratization of copyright. They had a number of investors who helped support their development and allow them to offer their new service for free. Binded hopes to offer additional services in the future, which may require a fair price in return, but for now, it’s free and the core product is intended to remain free.
How do you use Binded? As soon as you create a new image, you put it on Binded. The team is working on integrations for various creative tools to make it a seamless process, but as of now the tools exist on Instagram and Twitter. You can still add images that have already been published and have a copyright record and make use of Binded’s monitoring feature. When you have a Binded account, you have a Binded Vault, where you can privately store your copyrights. Every time you add an image to the vault, a fingerprint is created and a permanent record is written to the bitcoin blockchain. You can read more about blockchains here.
Of the blockchain, Binded investor Alan Chan of Vectr Ventures says, “Binded perfectly demonstrates the power of the blockchain by enabling effortless protection to the exponentially growing asset class of digital media copyrights. The impact will be a new paradigm for how copyrights are used on the web.”
While adding your image to the Binded Vault is not the same thing as registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office – a process Binded hopes to make simpler through their service – it should still carry legal weight as a permanent, independent record. An immediate concern is what if someone takes your image and puts it on a Binded Vault of their own? How do you prove that your work is truly your work? The Binded team is developing tools that rely on machine learning to combat fraud. They have additional ideas about this and will share more information in the future.
For anyone who creates content, copyright is a huge deal. For photographers in particular, whose work is particularly easy to swipe, the ability to protect work is critical. Binded is supported by large partners and is being run by a talented team who appears very committed to the idea of not only offering a service that will help photographers protect themselves against theft and ensure that there is an independent, permanent record of their work, but also providing easy-to-use tools for photographers to monitor where their work is appearing online. The service seems great and the team has also demonstrated a commitment to ensure that this core service of copyright protect remains free.
Taizo Son of Mistletoe, a Binded investor, says of Binded, “In the era of AI and Robotics, creativity is humanity's most important asset. Binded will become the platform creators use to protect and monetize their creativity. I'm very confident that Nathan and his team will democratize copyright and help create a new economy for creators everywhere.”