IMPRIMO: Blockchain-powered digital passport for visual artists takes next step forward

Thursday, February 25, 2021

TORONTO (February 25, 2021) - We are pleased to announce that Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Quebec (RAAV) with support from Canadian Artists' Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC), Copyright Visual Arts (COVA-DAAV), Access Copyright and its innovation lab, Prescient, have received funding from its grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, through its Digital Strategy Fund, for phase two of its work to build Imprimo, a digital passport for visual artists.

This $495,000 funding comes at a critical point in the development of Imprimo, which will establish a reliable and authoritative connection between a creative work (or its digital version), data related to the work, and the rightsholder(s) of the work.

Imprimo aims to put Canada on the map as a global leader in demonstrating how exponential technologies such as blockchain and machine learning can benefit creators.

“We were thrilled when the Canada Council approved funding for phase one of Imprimo, and it is gratifying to see their confidence in this project with the release of further funding,” said April Britski, Executive Director of CARFAC. “Following the success of the beta version phase, there is so much potential for artists to share their work on a platform that is built with their rights and interests in mind.”

Phase two will see Imprimo evolve further where its public, open and verified registry of attribution data will be integrated with existing image banks and other art repositories. An additional component of phase two will be making Imprimo a bilingual product. In this phase, the team will also explore how Imprimo can serve galleries and museums.

“Imprimo, when it launches, will be a powerful tool for visual artists who have all too often struggled to assert their ownership in their work,” said Maryse Dupuy, digital transformation coordinator at RAAV. “There is a tremendous wealth of visual art in Canada and Imprimo will play a significant part in making the works of Canadian visual art more accessible and discoverable.”

Access Copyright, along with its other Imprimo partners, is also delighted to share that it is helping to sponsor two four-month internships for a student enrolled in the University of British Columbia’s Blockchain@UBC program. Additional funding for these internships has been provided jointly through Access Copyright and a grant from Mitacs Accelerate program.

The Imprimo team will working closely with the student selected for the internships as well as faculty associated with Blockchain@UBC to explore incentive structures and models that can be implemented in a blockchain-powered distributed environment to ensure reliable and authoritative attribution in creative works.

“Harnessing blockchain to address the issue of attribution in creative works is among the most well-suited uses of this technology that I have come across,” said Dr. Victoria Lemieux, head of Blockchain@UBC. “I am very excited that Blockchain@UBC and one of its blockchain graduate students will be working closely with the organizations behind this cutting-edge work to take it to the next level.”

“Through this collaboration, the expertise of the creative organizations behind Imprimo will join forces with the exciting work taking place at UBC in its blockchain graduate pathway to work together to ensure creators’ ownership in their work is properly attributed and fairly paid for when used in digital environments,” said Roanie Levy, President & CEO of Access Copyright.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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For more information, please contact:

Amy Cormier, Head of Communications and Marketing,

Maryse Dupuy, digital transformation coordinator at RAAV,

Information about the project partners can be found here: RAAV (Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec), CARFAC (Canadian Artists' Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens), Copyright Visual Artists, Blockchain@UBC, Access Copyright, and Prescient Innovations.