If you read my last post about FaceRepo and Facer I mentioned that I made some watch faces that were clones of Breitling watches. FaceRepo was also a great place to find Rolex, Omega, and other watch faces. Like all good things the sharing of those faces has come to an end.
The hosting of copyrighted content has caused many sites to come under fire from content creators. Luckily a provision in the DMCA, the safe harbor clause, allows those sites to give resolution to content creators by taking down user uploaded content that violates copyright rules without the fear of those same creators coming at the site.
It now turns out that trademarked content is falling under the same scrutiny. The face designs created by the various watch manufacturers represent their brand and are the intellectual property of that brand. This gives them cause to send DMCA take down notices to sites like FaceRepo to remove faces that are direct copies of their watches. Due to this turn of events, which most people figured would happen, my watch faces have been removed from FaceRepo.
While I completely understand FaceRepo’s position, they must do this to maintain their safe harbor status, I’m a little upset at the watch manufacturers. While it is completely within their rights to protect their IP it sucks that they are making a fuss over people making watch faces for a device that is in most cases not even in the range of 1/10 of the cost of their watches. I think it would be safe to assume that those individuals who are purchasing a Moto360 probably are not in the market for a Rolex Daytona or a Breitling Navitimer. The watch faces removed from FaceRepo represent watches that cost in the range of $10,000 to over $100,000.
This boils down to a similar problem that the music industry faced and has largely come to understand: at some point you have to re-design your product for the digital age. The reason that these faces showed up on FaceRepo is solely because users admire and often aspire to own such watches. However, due to the exclusivity, craftsmanship, and other factors that make the real watches cost thousands of dollars the only way the average person could afford to have such a work is to make one to fit on their Wear enabled watch. These manufacturers are missing an opportunity to give these consumers what they want, an official representation of their favorite timepiece.
There is one problem with manufacturers marketing a watch face on the Play Store, exclusivity. These watches are more than just a timepiece made with an abundance of craftsmanship, they represent high fashion and luxury items. Some of the real watches represent extravagance with cases made out of solid gold. With so few of the watches made and their cost manufacturers have built up a level of exclusivity further enhances their appeal. If everyone was able to have a Rolex Daytona on their wrist as a Moto360 watch face would it diminish the value of a real Rolex? I doubt, but in the eyes of these luxury brand watch manufacturers it does.
In the end we have to respect FaceRepo for being transparent in what’s going on. I received two emails from them stating what was going on and why. While I’m a little upset at the manufacturers it’s completely their call. Hopefully manufacturers will come around and put out official watches.