Binded raises another $950K for its copyright-protecting tools

Binded aims to make it easier for photographers to protect their intellectual property by creating a permanent record of their copyright in a public database, namely the blockchain.

The startup was previously known as Blockai, but it’s rebranding today — the new name is meant to focus less on technology and instead emphasize the idea of creating a legally binding record. Put another way: As a company and product name, Binded probably sounds more appealing to people who aren’t bitcoin and blockchain nerds.

The startup is also announcing that it has raised an additional $950,000 from investors, including Mistletoe (led by Taizo Son, founder of gaming company GungHo and youngest brother of SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son), Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Vectr Ventures, M&Y Growth Partners, Tokyo Founders Fund and Social Starts. This brings Binded’s total funding to $1.5 million.

Binded CEO Nathan Lands suggested that bringing Japanese investors on-board is “is a step in the right direction” to become “the standard for copyright” globally.

Why is that kind of standard needed? Well, in the U.S., while your creative work is copyrighted as soon as it’s created, you need to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office if you want to file a lawsuit. Lands has pitched Binded’s platform as an intermediate step — less time-consuming and expensive than registration, but still creating an independent record that should have legal weight.

“We want to democratize copyright,” he said.

In fact, Lands pledged that the core Binded product will “always be free.” The plan is to add more services over time that the company could potentially charge for over time, like the ability to register with the Copyright Office.