In 2017, Canadian photographer Cath Simard snapped a picture of an empty road on the verdant Hawaiian island of Oahu and posted it on her Instagram account. She didn’t realize that her image would quickly go viral, with people reposting the same image across social media, most of the time without providing proper credit to her as the photographer. Four years later, Simard has taken back control of her work by selling the iconic image as an NFT for $300,000 and then releasing its rights.
It is the first image of its kind to have its rights released after its 1/1 NFT is purchased on the blockchain. The project is called #FreeHawaiiPhoto, and its intention is to give artists compensation for their work and creativity, while also allowing others the chance to enjoy its usage for free. “This project originated from the idea that the virality and large use of an image in the physical and online world increases the importance of provenance and therefore the value of the NFT,” it says on the #FreeHawaiiPhoto website.
So, instead of fighting a never-ending onslaught of copyright infringement cases and settling for small payouts, Simard auctioned a single-edition NFT of the photo to a prominent collector known as @gmoneyNFT. “NFTs are a new possibility when it comes to making a living off your art. I’ve made more in NFTs within the last 6 months than [I have] licensing images for my entire life,” Simard says.
“The NFT space is one in which if you’re the first to do something, it’s usually seen as very high value, and this [particular concept] has never been done before,” she continues. It is her hope that the #FreeHawaiiPhoto project sets an example of an alternative path for other creatives who struggle with copyright infringement and usage rights.
You can learn more about #FreeHawaiiPhoto via its website, download high-resolution files of the image here, and see more of Simard’s photography via her Instagram and online portfolio.
A post shared by C A T H S I M A R D (@cathsimard)
(1/4) Introducing the #FreeHawaiiPhoto Project, the first NFT to have its rights released to the world after its purchase. Dropping tomorrow on @SuperRare !
— Cath Simard (@cathsimard_) September 18, 2021
(2/4) This project originated from the idea that the virality & widespread use of an image increases the importance of provenance & therefore the value of the NFT. We believe that copies make the original more valuable.
— Cath Simard (@cathsimard_) September 18, 2021
(3/4) This project is also a statement of gaining back control over use of our images and fair compensation. #FreeHawaiiPhoto invites artists to break the boundaries of traditional licensing.
— Cath Simard (@cathsimard_) September 18, 2021
(4/4) I need your support. You can help me with this project by….
Changing your PFP to this image and sharing with #newprofilepic #freehawaiiphoto
I will randomly choose 3 people with this image as PFP to receive a signed print as a thank you for helping spread the word.
— Cath Simard (@cathsimard_) September 18, 2021
Hawaii is a beautiful part of our planet and its nature and people are precious. With this project, we will be using our voice to bring awareness on the environmental and cultural issues. DMs are opened if you’d like to discuss or have ideas on how to make an impact. Stay tuned!
— Cath Simard (@cathsimard_) September 19, 2021
#FreeHawaiiPhoto: Website
Cath Simard: Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [PetaPixel]
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