Wired in the UK has some interesting details on how the newly launched [S]edition digital art gallery is meant to work:
Despite the digital watermarking of the artworks and a few other cosmetic nods to security, it’s not going to take a rocket scientist to copy a JPEG or video file. Unlike in the analogue worlds, where you can photocopy prints or even generate new screen-printing templates, it would be an identical copy of the original — so it’s ridiculous to even talk about limited edition digital artworks.
There are two elements of Sedition’s service that counter this mindset — the first is the certificate of authenticity and the second is a more philosophical piece around art ownership.
The real value of the pieces that people can buy on Sedition lies in the certificate of authenticity. This is what allows you to resell the artworks, hopefully at a higher value once the limited edition has sold out. Only those who are on record to have bought an edition (or received one as a gift) may resell the artwork.
Secondly, you cannot underestimate the importance of authenticity when it comes to collecting art. I have a few prints myself in the offline world and I would be extremely upset if I found out that my signed Banksy was a fake. I value it because I think it’s beautiful, I value it because it’s authentic and from a limited edition, and I value it because I might one day be able to sell it at a profit.
Norton explains that they have taken great pains to emphasise the relationship between the buyer and the artwork. “We are really trying to create that experience online of being a collector of an artwork,” he said.
One of the key ways of doing this is building a community. This gives the collector both bragging rights and a direct link to the artist — the latter being something that you don’t get when you by an offline edition.
Sedition has full Facebook Connect integration (and will be one of the first wave of partners to take advantage of Open Graph) and allows you to follow artists, create a wish list of artworks that your friends can see, and send gifts. Members will receive updates from their favourite artists and invitations to offline gallery events. It will be very easy to find out who owns which artworks if you wish to buy a particular piece. Meanwhile, Sedition gets solid data on which artists are the most lucrative, shareable, followed and gifted.