San Francisco-based startup Binded on Thursday launched its new, blockchain-based platform to allow artists to register their authorship of their works at the moment of creation. It also announced a $950,000 fundraising round led by Mistletoe, Asahi Shimbun, and Vectr Ventures, bringing its total fundraising to date to $1.5 million.
Formerly known as Blockai, Binded allows artists to upload images to their private “copyright vault,” where it’s given a unique fingerprint identifying them as the author. That information is then saved permanent on the Bitcoin blockchain. The artist then receives a digital certificate with proof of authorship.
Binded is currently integrated directly with Instagram and Twitter, allowing works posted there to be uploaded automatically to the creator’s vault. Registration of works with Binded is currently free — a policy co-founder and CEO Nathan Lands vows will never change.
While other rights-tech entrepreneurs have developed blockchain-based registries, including Monegraph and Ascribe, Lands sees registration as merely the first step toward his goal to build what he calls “the copyright infrastructure of the internet.”
Long-term plans for Binded include launching a copyright monitoring service to allow artists to identify and track potentially infringing uses of their works and to develop the capability to register works with the U.S. Copyright Office.
“We want to make copyright simple, for users as well as artists,” Lands told RightsTech.com. “Right now, it’s almost impossible to identify the copyright owner of a file on the web; we want to change that.”
Lands said the newly raised funds will be used to hire staff to create more integrations with web-based creative tools and social media platforms. “We want to make it as seamless as possible to claim a copyright at the moment of creation,” Lands said.
The 7,000 artists currently using Blockai for registration will be shifted to the new platform, according to Lands, along with the roughly 10 million copyright records it has collected since its launch in March 2016.
Though Lands is heartened by Binded’s fundraising success, he said raising money for rights-tech ventures remains a challenge.
“We have investors like [Japanese publisher] Asahi Shimbun, who are very interested in copyright, but let’s face it, the web hasn’t been very compatible with copyright,” Lands said. “Copyright is an essential part of modern economy, yet no one has built a modern technology company to make copyright useful on the web. That’s what we want to do.”