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Your Rights When You Upload to Thingiverse

Thingiverse Blog Post

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. Because there has been some misinformation being disseminated as part of the discussion, we wanted to take this opportunity to clarify how Thingiverse works and the rights that you as Thingiverse users have when using our platform.

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. When Thingiverse users upload Things to Thingiverse, they choose the license under which they make their designs available, which can include CC licenses. The CC licenses are very clear on whether they allow commercial use or require attribution. 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. In the case of the eBay seller mentioned above, our legal team is preparing communication to the appropriate parties. Since MakerBot does not own the content that our users upload to Thingiverse, we also encourage community members who recognize third party conduct that violates their CC licenses to contact the platforms that are harboring such behavior.[1] We are happy to answer any questions that we can at this time and provide assistance. Community members can get in touch with our Thingiverse community manager here.

If you’re interested in learning more about this discussion, Michael Weinberg has a very detailed overview on his blog.

We would like to thank the Thingiverse community for raising this issue and for their passionate response. Thingiverse can only thrive through the engagement and passion of our users. We need to protect the values and rights that make Thingiverse great!

[1] For example, members may contact eBay here. You may want to consult a lawyer to determine what your options are.

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