It has long been a challenge for artists to protect their intellectual property (IP) , and ensure that they are paid fairly for their creations. As we see more and more IP being created and circulated digitally, this has become a bigger challenge. Just consider the one Billion people who use Instagram to post photos and share images. Some of these images “go viral” and are re-used globally by individuals and sometimes by corporations for their own marketing purposes, with no fees paid to the original person who posted the image.
While it may be easier for some of the bigger players to protect their IP rights online, it can be much harder for individuals. However, this might soon change. Pinterest’s employee no. 1 has recently launched MakersPlace to address this very problem. By using Blockchain technology, artist are able to sell their digital artwork by creating a permanent digital record (a unique fingerprint). MakersPlace is particularly attractive to collectors as it enable artists to sell their creations on a "limited-edition" basis. Collectors receive a non-fungible cryptocurrency token connoting ownership of the limited-edition digital print of the artwork that they can store in their own crypto wallet or in one on MakersPlace. The platform will take a 15 % cut on each transaction.
Collectors can easily browse MakersPlace for any category of digital artwork and buy the artwork with a credit card or with Ether. Any use, display or distribution for non-commercial purchases or resells on the secondary market will be marked by the artwork's unique digital 'fingerprint'.
This is a growing market as businesses are increasingly engaging with online platform users (e.g. Instagram) to help promote their products and services, using their photos and endorsements as part of an online marketing strategy.
Their work is getting printed, copied, shared and ultimately they make very little money from it being put online. If you can’t create a sustainable model for digital creators to create, you’re not going to have art.