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Canadian Blockchain Innovation To Benefit Visual Artists

Canada Council for the Arts grant will create new opportunities for
visual artists and public to engage with creative work

Photo credit: Alice Achterhof

OTTAWA (July 10, 2019) – A partnership between Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC), Copyright Visual Arts, Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Quebec (RAAV), Access Copyright and its innovation lab, Prescient, has received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to foster and promote visual arts through a creator-focused technology.

The $495K grant will support the creation of digital tools, built on blockchain technology, to establish a reliable and authoritative connection between a creative work (or its digital version), data related to the work, and the rightsholder – which will directly benefit Canadian visual artists.

These digital attribution tools will provide the foundation for a digital passport for art with verified, related information, which will lead to the creation of a connected hub for creators and citizens. In the project’s first iteration, artists will be able to identify their creations, identify the copyright owner and list the physical ownership of the art.

“CARFAC and Copyright Visual Arts understand the challenges visual artists face in the digital space – namely, unauthorized and uncompensated use of their works – at the same time, we’re excited about collaborating to create something entirely new,” said April Britski, National Executive Director, CARFAC. “This project is an important step in reimagining the creative ecosystem.”

The concept follows earlier explorations in blockchain led by Access Copyright and Prescient, one of the few organizations globally exploring creator-centred blockchain applications.

“Blockchain technology holds the potential to radically change the way we interact with content in the digital space,” said Roanie Levy, President & CEO, Access Copyright and CEO, Prescient Innovations. “This partnership brings together Canadian leaders in intellectual property, blockchain technology, the creative economy, as well as working artists and writers, to build new ways for creators to assert their rights, share and monetize their work.”

The initial digital tools will be available to select creators by late 2019.

“The lack of a single, comprehensive registry for Canadian art compromises the cultural record,” said Paddy Lamb, visual artist and Director and Co-Chair, Copyright Visual Arts. “Misattribution is a significant problem and in Canada art collectors have few resources to verify purchases. Together, we’re working to change this.”

The Canada Council for the Arts has stated its commitment to the digital space and the need to, “Amplify the quality, scale and sharing of Canadian arts through digital technology.” (2017-18 Annual Report, page 9.) By funding collaborative initiatives like the Attribution Ledger, the Council is providing important support to Canadian creators as they move in this direction.

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

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For more information, please contact:

Anne Yourt
Head of Communications & Marketing, Access Copyright | 647-216-0624


Press Coverage


About Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.


About Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) CARFAC is the national association for visual artists for the last 50+ years. Since 1968, CARFAC has facilitated education and advocacy around copyright issues in Canada. In 1990, CARFAC created a subsidiary organization, Copyright Visual Arts, which manages copyright royalties and licensing for visual artists in Canada.


About Copyright Visual Arts

Copyright Visual Arts represents 1000+ Canadian and Quebec visual and media artists.  It negotiates and issues licenses that allow the legal use of its affiliates’ works, collects the royalties and pays the artists. For over 28 years, Copyright Visual Arts has continuously demonstrated that it understands the need to improve and protect the needs of visual artists and has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve socio-economic climate for visual artists.


About RAAV

The Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV) has been recognized since 1993 as the sole representative association of visual artists residing in Quebec by virtue of Act S-32.01 of the Consolidated Statutes of Quebec (the Act respecting the professional status of visual artists, crafts and literature and their contracts with presenters) for the purpose of defending their socio-economic interests. In addition, RAAV is federally recognized under the
Status of the Artist Act (L.C. 1992, c.33) for negotiation with presenters under federal jurisdiction. In short, RAAV works to defend and promote the socio-economic rights and to improve the conditions of practicing visual artists.


About Access Copyright

For over 30 years, Access Copyright has facilitated content use for educational and professional purposes. Access Copyright has helped people make customized use of published materials combined with an assurance that the original creators and publishers also benefit, so that they can continue creating new and innovative works. This is vitally important to a strong Canadian culture and to all who rely on quality publications. Learn more at


About Prescient Innovations

Prescient is a creator-focused innovation lab dedicated to exploring the future of rights management and content monetization. The organization, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Access Copyright, is leveraging exponential technologies to build a dynamic, new ecosystem for creators, rightsholders and their audiences.