What was supposed to be a historic NFT collection, the August Sander photography NFT collection has now been labelled as a bad move, and it’s now going to court amidst a copyright claim from SK Stiftung Kultur. It was originally created by the photographer’s Great Grandson, Julian Sander in order to keep the photos as NFTs on the blockchain.
About the Collection and the Copyright Claim
August Sander’s Great Grandson, Julian recently wanted to bring his Great Grandfather’s iconic photos onto the blockchain via OpenSea. The collection would make up the iconic photographer’s total archive, which had 10,700 photographs. These NFTs would be given away for free, with users only needing to pay gas fees. Julian’s goal was to “secure the legacy of August Sander on the blockchain.”
The launch of the project took place on February 10th, being run by the August Sander family estate, headed by Julian. Julian Sander is an art dealer and gallerist also based in Cologne. Hauser & Wirth and Fellowship Trust helped with the collection too. In a few weeks, over 400 ETH was traded in secondary sales on OpenSea.
After receiving a lot of love on social media, including some from esteemed photographers, the collection quickly vanished. This was because Julian doesn’t own the copyright to August Sander’s work, it is SK Stiftung Kultur who maintains those rights until 2034.
In 1992, Julian’s Father, who is August’s Grandson, Gerd, sold the collection to SK Stiftung Kultur. Gerd worked closely with them during his art career. Immediately after the collection was on OpenSea, SK Stiftung Kultur came to the marketplace with a takedown notice. They followed suit by suspending the sale on 7th March.
Julian Sander says that the claim is not valid, but it is sure to go to court to find who the true owner of these NFTs’ copyrights is.
Who was August Sander?
August Sander was a German portrait photographer. He has before been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early 20th century”. His career started in 1901 when he began working for a photo studio in Linz before he became a partner in 1902, and the sole owner in 1904.
It wasn’t until 1909 that he left and set up a new studio in Cologne. His first book, ‘Face of our Time’ was issued in 1929. Throughout his career, he created many iconic photos before passing away in 1964 aged 87.