Photographer Sells Widely Stolen Photo As NFT For $ 300,000, Makes It Free


A photographer who was tired of hunting down copyright infringers in her most stolen photo instead decided to sell it as NFT and then release the rights to use the photo worldwide. This NFT has just been auctioned for $ 300,000.

Several years ago, Canadian photographer and Sony Ambassador Cath Simard took and shared a photo of a road on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The photography then went viral online, shared on websites like Reddit and on social media platforms, mostly without any credit to Simard as the original creator.

The photo even became one of the top Google Images search results for “road to Hawaii”:

And as the photograph has been shared time and time again online, there are more and more cases of copyright infringement that Simard has worked hard to fight. Despite signing up for online services that track infringements and try to collect user fees for photographers, Simard has not been able to raise a single dollar to show his efforts.

Following the explosion of NFTs on the scene in recent months, Simard was one of the first prominent photographers to become deeply involved in the emerging crypto-based industry. With several successful NFT sales under his belt, Simard this month decided to change tactics for his photography in Hawaii.

Instead of fighting for relatively low counterfeit payouts in an endless and ever-growing game of Whack-a-mole, Simard would auction off a unique NFT edition of the photo, then publish the photo itself to the world. for free commercial use.

And the more Hawaii photo is used around the world and on the web, the more famous (and valuable) Authenticated NFT becomes – or so that’s the idea.

Thus, the #freehawaiiphoto project was born.

Read more: What is an NFT and why should photographers care?

On September 19, Simard hit the NFT with the photo on SuperRare and the auction was live.

“The first NFT to have its usage rights released worldwide after purchase,” the auction description reads. “This project was born from the idea that virality and the widespread use of an image increase the importance of provenance and therefore the value of NFT. This project is also a declaration on fair remuneration and the resumption of control over the use of our images.

To reflect the large sums she would have had to pay for unauthorized use of the Hawaii photo, Simard set the auction reserve price at 100 Ether. With Ethereum trading between $ 3,000 and $ 3,800 in recent days, that put the value north of $ 300,000.

Simard bonded with prominent NFT collectors during his 9 months in the NFT space, and one of them, the famous NFT expert known as @gmoneyNFT put in the first auction at the reserve price.

This auction ended up being the only auction, and Simard’s photo was sold for 100 Ether when the auction ended yesterday.

Read also: How to Hit an NFT: The Photographer’s Guide

Now that the auction is over, Simard’s famous Hawaii Road photograph is now released. The new license for the photo states that it can be used for commercial purposes without attribution. The only two things you can not to do with the photo is to recall it as an NFT or to fire it to a third party.

“This project is essentially the result of a few hundred hours of market analysis, of the idea of ​​flipping the script back to the old licensing model, scripting the video, researching all illegal uses, editing video, music, develop the marketing plan, execute the marketing plan, [and] the website, ”said Simard PetaPixel. “It’s much bigger than what people see.

“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.

“NFTs are a new possibility when it comes to making a living from your art. I have earned more NFTs in the past 6 months than [I have] licensed images for all my life.

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