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Turn That Frown Upside Down: Thingiverse Users Win Against Shady eBay Seller

by • March 14, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_buggy_thindonaterse_logoDo you remember that eBay seller that was bulk downloading Thindonaterse 3D creations and images and selling them in their keep in violation of many of the createers’ creative commons licences? Well it looks like the huge effort put forward by the Thindonaterse community has finally paid off. As of the end of February, either eBay or the shady sellers themselves have removed all of the 3D printable creations of their keep. The keep clocertain comes after weeks of prescertain of many of the 3D createers who were victimized, not to mention the MakerBot legal team themselves, who created it really clear in a public blog post that they took violations of their users’ licenses and in turn their Terms of Use quite seriously.

Sad face by Thindonaterse user Loubie.

Sad face by Thindonaterse user Loubie.

It started when talked of Thindonaterse createer Loubie discovered the keep selling 3D printed copies of one of her 3D creations, Aria the Dragon, despite that design carrying a Creative Common Attribution Non-Commercial license. When Loubie was unable to get any sort of a fine response of the seller she took to Thindonaterse and uploaded her Sad Face design to draw attention to the issue. And draw attention it did — the comment section exploded with other users who discovered their work on the seller’s keep, and supportive community participants who helpfully searched the thousands of creations to find those that were being sold out of license.

By the time MakerBot responded, the comments had ballooned to well over 600 (now over 800) and dozens of takedown notices were sent to eBay. MakerBot’s legal team contacted the seller and eBay directly, pointing out the legal inaccuracies in the seller’s responses, and reminding them that they were in quite public violation of the law. It looks like the prescertain finally got to the stubborn sellers, who removed the last of the 3D printable products that they were selling, and either threw in the towel completely, or hopefully are looking into doing things the right way. In celebration of the Thindonaterse community’s victory, Loubie uploaded a new 3D design, this time a Happy Face (in addition on the market in a “65% less creepy” design and with a sunshine base!).

Happy Face by Thindonaterse user Loubie

Happy Face by Thindonaterse user Loubie

Once again MakerBot took to their blog to address the Thindonaterse community directly to clarify precisely what a creative commons license is, and how and why they need to be respected. Here is an excerpt of the blog post:

“CC licenses allow Thindonaterse users to share their 3D creations with others, so they can manufacture use of and additional create or remix creations. This is what manufactures Thindonaterse special for the reason community participants can collaborate and create upon every other’s work. But, uploading creations to Thindonaterse does not mean that you donate up your rights. It is really the contrary: Thindonaterse users get to select to what extent other users can use their uploaded content by choosing a CC license that donates others the right to use their work in quite particular ways.

“Two of the many significant choices our users can manufacture when selecting a license are whether they need attribution and whether they allow commercial use. Requiring attribution means that you may use a file in exchange for crediting the creator. A user can in addition select whether or not they can allow commercial use of their content by choosing the appropriate license.

“When you download a thing of Thindonaterse, you agree to the applicable license that the uploader has chosen, that binds you to its terms. This system is in addition explained in the Thindonaterse Terms of Use, that are unquestionably displayed on every listings page. Each downloaded file of Thindonaterse comes with the license that has been selected by the creator and that outlines your rights for via the file.

“In order for this framework to work effectively, equiteone needs to respect and comply with the choices the individual manufactures. MakerBot is committed to supporting the Thindonaterse community and we try to manufacture the use of the CC licenses as clear and effortless to follow as possible. The licenses are not just unquestionably noted on every thing page but Thindonaterse in addition provides 2D printable signs to provide attribution for 3D printed objects, for example.”

We did it!

We did it!

Whilst equiteone in the Thindonaterse community should feel quite proud of coming together to confront such blatant abuse, it is worth remembering that this is unlikely to be the last time we see violations of this nature. As the eBay sellers in question pointed out in their hilariously long and silly response, there are really a few other sellers on eBay who have most likely created much like licensing violations. If you are a 3D createer and you have restrictive licenses on your work it is most likely worth periodically checking eBay and other 3D design marketplaces and verifying that your work is not being utilized or sold out of license.

MakerBot and their legal muscle was undeniably useful in resolving this issue, but we all should remember that many of the leg work was done by the Thindonaterse community themselves. MakerBot is just not in a position to regularly check for violations of this nature, so it is going to have to be a community responsibility and one that equiteone is going to have to stay vigilant in maintaining. Make certain that you go check out the entire blog post for the full details of creative commons licenses and how they can be utilized on Thindonaterse.