The role of copyright is to protect original owners of ideas and products from unauthorised duplication and sharing by others. Copyright does not mean the holder necessarily owns the ‘product’ instead, the owner holds the rights to any future copying of the idea/product. From its birth into the public world in the 1440’s when the printing press was created to the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Copyright has and will always adapt to changing technological environments, changing the flow of content and easing the process of copying.
As part of Pebble’s design users are encouraged to create code and be involved in app developments with Pebble releasing a software developer kit back in 2013 that enabled users to expand the Smartwatch’s potential. Around this time user ‘Slayer155101’ was issued an official copyright infringement notice from Tokyo Watches in regards to a watch face design he developed and placed online that closely resembled the Tokyoflash watch design. This sparked conversation on the getpebble forum with the question, “is a link to a third party site (and discussion about the item) a violation of copyright?”. Forum users certainly did not agree, with one saying:
“Really disappointed in Tokyo Watches … it’s not like the watch face is selling code … Note to self: Never buy Tokyo Watches.”
In the end, Pebble did officially removed the copyrighted faces from the app store and even from areas where their code was shared on a public forum.
Tech Dirt 2013, Masnick M, ‘Copyright claim leads to removal of popular Pebble watch faces’, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130430/22352122902/copyright-claims-lead-to-removal-popular-pebble-watch-faces.shtml (Accessed 24th of March 2014)
Pebble 2014, ‘Developer Blog’, Pebble, https://blog.getpebble.com/ (Accessed 24th of March 2014)
Youtube 2014, ‘Tokyoflash Japan’, Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/user/TokyoflashReviews (Accessed 27th of March 2014)
Funny Junk, ‘thefallenwillrise’, Copyright, http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/3234378/Copyright/ (Accessed 31st March 2014)
Tech Dirt, 2013, ‘Copyright claim leads to removal of popular Pebble watch faces’, Masnick M, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130430/22352122902/copyright-claims-lead-to-removal-popular-pebble-watch-faces.shtml (Accessed 24th of March 2014)