Photographer sells her most stolen image as NFT art and releases usage rights

ByDavid M. Conte

Sep 24, 2021

Sadly, most photographers are personally familiar with image theft, but one designer was so tired of hunting down copyright infringers of her most stolen image that she took matters into her own hands. She decided to sell the image as NFT art and then release the rights to use the photo for “the world.”

canadian photographer Catherine simardHer story began in 2017, when she photographed a road on the Hawaiian island of Ohau and then shared it with her. Instagram account. It instantly went viral and was later shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, also reaching the front page of websites like Reddit, 9Gag, and iFunny, among others, but without any photo credits or compensation for using the. picture. The image even became one of the top Google search results for the query “road to Hawaii”.

[Read: What are NFTs Anyway? A Photographer’s Guide to the Digital Art Craze]

Four years later, Simard regained control of his work by selling the image as a TVN for $ 300,000 and releasing his rights. This is the first image of its kind to see its rights released after purchasing its NFT 1/1 on the blockchain. And as Simard’s Hawaii photo is used more and more, the more famous and valuable the unique authenticated NFT becomes.

As described on the #FreeHawaiiPhoto project website, which grew out of all of this and the idea that “the virality and massive use of an image in the physical world and online increases the importance of provenance, and therefore the value of the NFT, #FreeHawaiiPhoto is also a declaration of regaining control over the use of our images and fair compensation. “

[Read: Lindsay Adler’s 10 Steps to Selling Photographs as NFTs]

The site adds that “after four years of pursuing social media accounts and businesses without credit or consent, [Simard] decided to choose another path and return the script. While intellectual property beats us to prove ownership of our creations, provenance allows us to authenticate the original.

Instead of endlessly battling copyright infringement cases for what would likely be a series of small payments, according to My modern encounter, Simard opted for the auction of a unique NFT edition of the photo to a prominent collector, @gmoneyNFT. Simard said, “NFTs are a new possibility when it comes to making a living from your art. I have earned more in NFT in the last 6 months than [I have] licensed images for all my life.

“NFT space is a space where if you’re the first to do something, it’s usually considered a very high value, and that’s [particular concept] has never been done before, ”she continued. Simard’s hope is that his #FreeHawaiiPhoto project “will help pave the way for an alternative path for other photographers and creatives who have also struggled with copyright infringement.”

Learn more about #FreeHawaiiPhoto heD.

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