Copytrack’s Blockchain-based Global Copyright Registery

Posted on 1/10/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Copytrack, the German organization that tracks use of images on the Internet and then pursues infringers when an unauthorized use is discovered has announced that its “blockchain powered copyright registry and enforcement platform is preparing the enter the second round of the crowdsale” as a way of raising revenue for future expansion.

As the new year starts it appears that anyone who uses the word “blockchain” in their press announcement gets immediate interest from the investor community.

In the Presale 1 phase of its token sale Copytrack raised $4 million from over 2,900 backers. The Copytrack ICO (Initial Coin Offering) went live on January 10, 2018. The ICO started with a 0.1 ETH minimum contribution. Participants can take part in the ICO on

Copytrack is the global market leader in image theft protection, operating in over 140 countries and generating a claim volume of over $20,000,000 in 2017 alone. The upcoming Global Copyright Registry solves image theft by registering images on the Blockchain, thereby enabling photographers to protect, track and monetize their work.

At their website Copytrack has an interesting Whitepaper that explains a lot about the company and how the token sale will work. It appears that Copytrack intends to launch a Marketplace for stock photography in Q2 2019, but there is no clear explanation of what that will entail or how it will work.

What’s This Mean For Photographers?

It is unclear how the emphasis on “Blockchain-based” will bring about any changes in the way Copytrack will operate in 2018. Currently, photographers and agencies may provide images free of charge to the Copytrack database. There is a process for determining that the image supplier is the real copyright holder of the images supplied.

Copytrack creates an “image fingerprint” of each image. Then they regularly search the Internet to see if they can find any uses of the images in the collection. They report all uses back to the image creator and it is up to the creator to determine if the use was properly licensed.

If the image was not properly licensed Copytrack will then pursue the infringer on behalf of the image creator and take a percentage of the recovery fee. There is no cost to the image creator for the services they provide unless there is a recovery.

The weakness in the whole process tends to be in determining if the image was legally licensed. If the image has never been licensed by anyone then the decision is easy. But often the licensor of the image is a freelance graphic design firm working for some other organization. The actual end user, on whose website the image may appear, may not have been reported to the licensee. The rights granted in the license may not have been clear.

Often the creator may be licensing the image through many different agencies on a non-exclusive basis. In many of these cases use reporting from some of these agencies can be delayed many months. It is possible for the creator to have no record of the image being licenses, or the terms of the license, when in fact the image is being used legally.

If the blockchain has all the information about the actual end users of every sale then discovering unauthorized uses might be a lot simpler. But it would seem that the only way that might happen is if the Copytrack Marketplace was representing the image exclusively and the only company with rights to license the image.

Given the way the stock photo industry works today, there is a big question as to why an image creator would want to allow the Copytrack Marketplace be the exclusive representative of all their images.
At the very least photographers need more information about the planned structure of the Copytrack Marketplace before they can determine if the Blockchain aspect will really result in a fundamential change in the way images are licensed.

Also check out this story.

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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