Feb 24, 2016 | By Kira

MakerBot has today released a response in regards to the increasingly heated controversy between a shady eBay store known as just3Dprint, and hundreds of Thingiverse designers whose designs are being reproduced and sold without permission. In the statement, MakerBot firmly asserts that it views just3Dprint’s actions as “a direct attack on the very goal of Thingiverse,” and confirmed that its legal team is already preparing “communication to the appropriate parties.”

In case you haven’t been following the drama unfold, at the end of last week, 3D designer and Thingiverse user Loubie realised that a store on eBay was selling 3D printed copies of her work without her permission and in direct violation of Thingiverse’s Creative Commons license. When Loubie requested that just3Dprint, the store involved, remove her work, she was met with an astonishingly direct “no”.

Not only did just3dprint refuse to take down her 3D models, or any of they 2,000+ other models they had pulled from unwitting Thingiverse designers, but in a 3,500-word comment on her now infamous ‘Sad Face’ 3D model, they also alleged that what they were doing was perfectly legal, and that the Non-Commercial license, along with Thingiverse’s entire Terms of Use were, essentially, ‘toilet paper.’

That last jab, along with several other claims that are either ethically dubious, legally false, just plain rude, or all of the above, finally prompted MakerBot, 3D printing giant and owner of the Thingiverse platform, to formulate their own strongly worded (yet infinitely less ridiculous) response:

“Several members of the Thingiverse community have recently raised concerns about an eBay member who is selling 3D prints of design files from Thingiverse. In many cases, the restrictions or obligations placed on those files by Thingiverse users are being completely disregarded. While we are still investigating the exact circumstances, we want to emphasize that MakerBot views violations of our community members’ rights with the utmost seriousness.”

“We firmly oppose this kind of use of our talented community’s creations. To put it simply, we see such violations as a direct attack on the very goal of Thingiverse and the Creative Commons (CC) framework.”

MakerBot, which is itself no stranger to public controversy, also took the opportunity to clarify Thingiverse’s raison d’être as well as the legitimacy and purpose of its Terms of Use:

“MakerBot has created Thingiverse as a platform where users can share Things they create and we allow them to do so under certain terms of their choice…MakerBot finds attribution to be a vital element of the CC licenses and simply put, a bedrock principle of respect. We want the world to know who is responsible for the wonderful creations that can be found on Thingiverse. We respect the choices our users make and we expect everyone to do so as well. MakerBot is committed to protecting the rights of its community members.”

MakerBot isn’t the only company to have made public their position. French 3D modelling platform Cults, where Loubie is also a member and posted her Sad Face model, also released a statement to its members, assuring them that they take such blatan violations very seriously:

“This subject is very important to us. Here at Cults, we assure you that your creations are legally protected against this kind of problem. Contrary to Thingiverse, on Cults you have to register to be able to download a creation. And when creating your account, you have to fully accept our Terms and Conditions, where it is strictly specified that, unless you decide to do otherwise, no one can use your work for a commercial purpose.”

At this point, Loubie’s original Sad Face post has received more than 600 comments, the majority from fellow 3D printing community members in full support of her cause. And, in addition to MakerBot’s and Cults’ respective statements, prominent industry experts, such as Shapeways’ Michael Weinberg, have also weighed in on the matter, ultimately pointing out the numerous legal and ethical holes in just3Dprint’s case. If history is any indication, just3Dprint is probably drafting an even longer, more ludicrous response right now, but, given that MakerBot’s legal team is no doubt working in full gear, we hope they think twice before hitting “publish.” Either way, we are sure it won't be long before more news emerges, and we'll be following closely to see what happens next.

In the meantime, members of the 3D printing community are being encouraged by Loubie, MakerBot, Cults, and others to take note of any similar fraudulent practices or violations, be they through just3Dprint or any other shady resellers, and to contact the original designer or host platform to resolve the issue. Thingiverse users can reach out to Thingiverse’s community manger, Cults’ members can reach out directly to the Cults team, and if any of your creations are being sold by just3Dprint, be sure to contact eBay directly and have to content removed.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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John Dee wrote at 2/26/2016 1:43:27 PM:

to the voice of reason... do you really think that the people who created the models had not thought of using ebay to sell them, of course they did...they just might have chosen to not do it...or hadnt got around to it yet...doesnt give anyone else the right to do it...or steal photographs and use them to market the products they have stolen, they might get away with using the model due to the legal issues above to do with CAD, but with copyrighted photo's & digital millennium act, legally they could be hit with a £250,000 damages claim. But finding a lawyer to take on the case without you dipping hand in very deep pocket, there's nothing much that can be done except name & shame.

Voice of Reason wrote at 2/25/2016 6:32:20 PM:

What a load of nonsense. If an Ebayer wants to offer to print 3D models for those that don't want to do it themselves, that sounds like it is a very useful service. Come on Thingiverse and the few who wish they'd thought of it first - be sensible

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