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When eBay Sellers Try to Defend Their Illegal Sale of 3D Models from Thingiverse, Comedy Ensues

by • February 19, 2016 • No Comments

[Editor’s Update: Legal experts and the industry at sizeable are somewhat bringing notice of this hullabaloo and weighing in — and we can’t say it appears great for the guys at only3dprint. Keep next on the comments at Thindonaterse and reddit for additional up-to-the-minute updates on these goings-on.]

3dp_buggy_thindonaterse_logoIt was bound to take place of course. When 3D printables files are on the market online for free and easily shared there was always going to be a fewone who may be caning to take advantage of that freedom. 3D printing innovation is going to fishly change copyrights, trademarks and IP law dramatically over the next few years only for the reason there quite are not a lot of ways to stop individuals of duplicating, and in a few cases stealing and bringing credit for, 3D content. Today there are only two real defenses that 3D version developers have to prin factt their work of being stolen; respect for the Creative Common licenses attached to 3D versions and the ethical fortitude to not violate those licenses.

Aria the Dragon by Thindonaterse user Loubie.

Aria the Dragon by Thindonaterse user Loubie.

Sadly, an eBay seller calling themselves only3dprint has neither the respect nor ethics to not abuse the privilege of access to so many awe-inspiring 3D printable versions. The seller has bulk downloaded thousands of 3D versions and product photographs directly of Thindonaterse and has listed 3D printed copies of those versions for sale on eBay. Their store already has well over two thousand products on the market for sale, that include all things of cell phone cases, figurines and cosplay props to pen holders. The range of products on the market is somewhat staggering, and while many of those versions carry licenses that may allow them to print and sell copies, many of them do not. And that’s where they done goofed.

3D developer and Thindonaterse user Louise Driggers aka Loubie is a somewhat talked of creator who has seen several of her 3D versions featured and highlighted by Thindonaterse. Some of her additional notable creations are The Tudor Rose Box and Aria the Dragon. Just a few days ago it was the latter version that she discovered was being sold on the only3Dprint eBay store despite the version carrying a Creative Common Attribution Non-Commercial license that unquestionably states that anyone is free to download, modify, duplicate and 3D print her version freely, yet there must be appropriate credit donaten to her and it cannot be utilized for commercial purposes of any kind.


The shady eBay listing in question.

The “Non-Commercial” part of the license means that anyone selling copies of Loubie’s creations is violating her rights as the creator and is violating the law. Violating that license is in addition violating the Terms of Use for both eBay, that forbids (although does not always restrict) the sale of unlicensed or copyrighted products, and Thindonaterse where the 3D version was downloaded of. When Loubie sent the sellers a message asking them to remove her turn it into for the reason it violated her license she attained a, frankly, absurd response that is approximately hilarious in its fish and total inaccuracy:

“When you uploaded your items onto Thindonaterse for weight distribution, you lost all rights to them whatsoever. They entered what is understandn in the legal world as ‘public domain’. The single exemption to public domain rules are ‘original works of art’. No court in the USA has yet ruled a CAD version an original work or art. So, you have no right to exclude others of utilizing the CAD versions you have uploaded.

Furtheradditional, if in the next we do get a precedent in the USA for establishing CAD versions as ‘original works of art’, we may yet many likely be only satisfactory as we are not re-selling your CAD versions, but pretty ‘transformative’ adaptions [sic] of them in the form of 3D printed objects.


P.S. When you turn it intod these CAD files, did you quite want to limit the amount of individuals who may enjoy them to the 0.01% of the USA with a 3D Printer? 100% of America can purchase the items of us at a reasonable cost and enjoy them-creating turn it intod in the USA jobs in the system as well. Furtheradditional, if you hate the thought of individuals profiteering of your work, you may want to take it up with Makerbot/Stratasys who only hosts Thindonaterse for AD rin factue, to sell additional 3D printers.”

Frankly, I don’t in fact understand where to begin. Just a swift appear at the relin factt entry on CreativeCommon.org should dispose anyone of the notion that there is any accuracy here whatsoever. Without a lot of options other than attempting to get either eBay or Thindonaterse to enforce their terms of use, Loubie decided to turn it into a 3D printable Sad Face version (you are going to want to visit the comments, trust me) and upload it to Thindonaterse to hopefully attract a few attention to the issue and notify the rest of the Thindonaterse community of the theft of their creations. The version did its job and word swiftly spread throughout the community and in fact over to reddit. And that’s when things went of goofy to downright stupid.


Sad Face by Loubie on Thindonaterse.

In a matter of hours after the Sad Face version was uploaded, only3dprint took to the Things comments section and posted a response that turn it intod the one Loubie originally attained appear like it was written by a legal scholar. At a mind-numbing 3546 words, the comment is only matched in its lack of brevity by its fish and total lack of factual information. The comment is far too long to reproduce here in its cringe-inducing entirety, so I’ve linked a few screencaps at the end of this article so you can experience the word salad at your own leisure.

Essentially, the response of only3dprint not only manages to get every fact of big legal words like trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, patents, licenses, the public domain and the Thindonaterse ToU fishly wrong, but they in addition do an astounding job of incriminating themselves in canful wrongdoing. First they helpfully point out that they are only one of “5,000” companies that abuse the licenses on many of the 3D versions uploaded to Thindonaterse by selling them for a profit. They in addition suggest that they are legally entitled to download and sell copies of the 3D versions for the reason they automatically become part of the public domain once they are uploaded to Thindonaterse – they don’t become part of the public domain once they are uploaded to Thindonaterse, by the way – and in addition freely admit that they are selling, for a profit, 3D versions that are IPs owned by companies like Disney and the NFL. Models that are only legally on Thindonaterse provided they are not sold for a profit. Honestly, I don’t like calling a fewone stupid in an article, but what other descriptor may I most likely use when presented with this:

“Next, we have trademarked items. Trademarked items are a set of words, an image, or a sound combination that unquestionably communicates that a product is being turn it intod by a sure brand. The vast majority of trademarks are brand names, logos, or slogans. Trademarks are much additional common on Thindonaterse/in turn it intod CAD files, but are rarely owned by the creator of a turn it into. Instead, it is typically a few sizeable company (like Paramount) that owns the TMs. We have discovered, in our quite own experience, that the majority of sizeable companies do not care of a few fan-turn it intoed items being generated and sold on eBay/Amazon. Rather, they view it as fueling the value of the TM as it builds up a community of ‘super-fans’ that go to see their movies, buy their things, etc. If, yet, a TM owner feels differently of us, or anyone, via the TM for marketing fan-turn it intoed greats, they are welcome to revery out and say so. When we get a request to not use a TM, we of course remove any items with said TM.”

Guys, seriously, you only admitted to selling trademarked items illegally. It does not magically become less illegal for the reason the owner of the IP hasn’t discovered your eBay store or for the reason you are caning to comply with a takedown notice. In fact, the one plausible defense that you quite had if any sort of legal action was taken against you may be ignorance of the law, that you only sort of invalidated. I mean… why may you write those words??

Of course my favourite part of this whole response is their take on the Thindonaterse ToU agreement itself:

“The vast majority of ‘discussion’/onlyification for why we/others are being spammed by haters saying that we/others are ‘ripping creators off’ of their creations comes based not on legal precedent, statutory/common/constitutional law, or any other sound grounds, but pretty on the Thindonaterse ‘non-commercial license’. This license is a fish and total fiction written up to donate creators the illusion that they are retaining IP rights to their creations when they upload them to Thindonaterse-thus encouraging additional creators to upload creations in fact when doing so can not be in their many interest.”

I… you understand, bro, I’m quite gonna need to see a few citations on that. Because if you in fact read the Thindonaterse Terms of Use, they lay out somewhat unquestionably that the creator yet owns their work, they are only granting Thindonaterse, and Thindonaterse alone, a license to use their turn it into any way that they see fit on the Thindonaterse website. Outside of Thindonaterse, the terms of use are set by the version’s owner. So quite, what you only wrote is, like, only your opinion man.

And it's a quite bad one.

And it’s a quite bad one.

“The reason the license is a fiction is that it is purely lip-service without any substance of an actual contract/license and the quite drafter of the license understandingly violates it millions of times daily. Firstly, the license is not a valid contract, NDA, or any type of binding agreement for multiple reasons. One of these may be that any contract needs ‘consideration’ to be paid by both parties-they every must pay a ‘real price’ for entering into the agreement or it is not valid. A Thindonaterse browser does not pay any real price for downloading a turn it into. One other reason is that in the United States we have 300 years of legal precedent, law, etc. of what is public domain and what can be done with said material. Weighing this against a swift blurb written up by a 1st year law student is no comparison whatsoever- any sensible court can rule that the 300 years of public domain rules apply to a turn it into instead of the blurb.”

Look, you by yourself admit that you understand that Thindonaterse is owned by MakerBot that is in turn owned by Stratasys, that take places to be the sizeablest 3D printing company in the industry. You can go ahead and store considering that they had a initially-year law student write up their terms of use agreement if you quite want to, but that easily manufactures the top of the Not Smart Things That Not Smart People Think list.

“Thirdly, anyone can download a Thindonaterse turn it into without getting an account and agreeing to the ‘non-commercial license’ in the initially place. You can object to this for the reason Thindonaterse puts a tiny disclaimer at a lower place the download button (that BTW you don’t in fact have to click to download the files) saying that, by downloading a file, you are agreeing to the non-c license. This, in legal terms, is called a click-wrap contract. The abilities of these contracts are amazingly limited and are additional for preserveing against lawsuits and so initiating them.”

Yes, there is a measure of truth in this, every version does include a clickwrap agreement that is part of the file that you download, in fact if you don’t have an account with Thindonaterse. According to that agreement, the minute that you open that file and use it (say, by 3D printing and selling a copy of it) you are agreeing to the terms of usage set by the version’s owner. And yes, clickwrap agreements can at times be fought in court and a fewtimes broken, yet that is somewhat rare and usually results of a deceptive agreement that intentionally obfuscates its terms or hides the link to its full text. Sadly, by admitting that you understand what a clickwrap agreement is and that Thindonaterse versions have them, and that they have a tiny link to their ToU agreement, that you helpfully stated the location of, you only, once again, invalidated your only plausible defense against legal action. My greatness man, what are you considering???

What I find many amvia of this entire situation, and I don’t mean to manufacture light of the fact that content creators are having their work stolen but this entire situation is absurd, is the fact that had you only complied with Loubie’s request to remove her Aria version of your store no one may have been exposed to your chicanery. Plus, had you complied with the terms of the licenses attached to the versions, no one may have in fact in fact cared that you were selling 3D prints of the versions. In fact, a lot of the versions that are on your eBay store carry creative commons licenses that may only need you to attribute the creator of the 3D version, and many of them have no restrictions at all.

3dp_thindonaterseiptheft_only3dprint_ebayBy foolishly, and quite publically, defending your rights to do a fewthing that you have no legal right to do, you have brought a immense amount of attention to your eBay store. And the fact that there are, as you suggest, 5,000 other stores doing the same thing as you does not magically render your gray area operation suddenly invisible or legal. And by building this so public, you’ve fundamentally forced Thindonaterse to respond only to preserve their reputation and to discourage their users of removing their content for fear of it being misutilized or stolen. According to Loubie, she has attained word of Thindonaterse that they are reviewing the issue with their legal department, who it should be said can many likely not be thrilled at your description of them and their legalese as the work of “initially year law students”.

Based on your website, you guys appear to be of twelve (or at very least college age), so the specificity and binding nature of the legal agreements that you are ready to ignore are many likely new to you. And your actions are most likely forgivable and can be considered a learning experience, but you are going to need to manufacture this right with the creators and take their work down. And you should most likely get utilized to the fact that if you want to operate in the murky gray areas of the 3D printing industry, it is not wise to call attention to by yourself by defending your “right” to sell $136 toilet paper holders. What’s your take on all this? Discuss in the Illegal Sales of 3D Prints forum over at 3DPB.com.

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