posted by: brianka in General on January 8th, 2010
If you have been to www.modista.com (one of my personal favorite) visual shoe-search engine in the last week or so, you will no longer find the fabulous resource for shoe-lovers that used to exist at that address.
Instead, you will be greeted with this:
This saddens me. I certainly understood that as a visual-marketing site, their time was likely funded by affiliate compensation programs. That doesn’t bother me. After all, helping them to potentially operate in the black with click-through revenue seemed like more than a fair exchange for the use of a truly superior shoe-hunting tool.
But, look closely at this portion of their statement, “We certainly don’t think the site violated anyone’s intellectual property. Anyway, it was fun to build Modista and we hope you enjoyed using it.”
This is telling. It appears to an outsider like myself that one of the designers or retailers whose stock photos were featured by the Modista search engine served Modista or their internet host with a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) Infringement notice.
The DMCA is meant to protect online copyright of content and images. For example, Shoeblog has had their content ‘Scraped’ from time to time (ie. stolen in breach of the copyright that exists at the moment of publication) and used without attribution by those looking to use it for their own ad-revenue. So, I understand the urge to protect one’s digital work.
However, penalizing a search engine for stock sales images for some sort of intellectual property breach may not be best or appropriate use of the DMCA.
So, I can’t help but be curious, and a bit worried for any other search engines that use a visual component.
Anyway, I have an email pending to the folks at Modista. I for one, would love to know if my speculations are correct or if there are other details that would clarify this situation. I would certainly hate to be correct; it would mean that so many other great sites such as Polyvore could be next.