VEND – the totally printed candy dispenser by Mr_MegaTronic is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution license. We recently provided a brief explanation of Creative Commons (CC) licenses. This week, we want to focus on the attribution obligation of CC licenses and explain best practices for providing attribution for designs from Thingiverse. Attribution is a condition of every CC license. We believe attribution is incredibly important because those who spend the energy and time to create all the amazing Things on Thingiverse deserve credit for offering their work to everyone. So what does proper attribution look like? According to the Creative Commons-Attribution license (3.0), a licensee must, unless a licensor requests otherwise, keep intact all copyright notices and provide, in part, and “reasonably to the medium or means the [the licensee is] utilizing:” (i) the name of the author (or pseudonym, if applicable), (ii) the title of the work, if supplied; and (iii) the uniform resource identifier, if any, to the extent reasonably practicable. The actual license language is more comprehensive, and you may want to check the actual license to determine all the nuances. However, as you can see from the language above, the CC licenses take into consideration the medium the licensee is utilizing and whether the attribution is reasonable. Creative Commons has a helpful resource that provides best practices for attribution. Keeping these practices in mind, we will provide some examples for how to provide attribution and describe how Thingiverse makes it easy for you to do so. How to Find Licenses on Thingiverse The first step before you download or share designs from Thingiverse is to locate and read the license of a particular Thing. To facilitate our community’s awareness of the license, every Thing Page clearly displays the license at the bottom of the page on the right hand side and under the “Thing Files” tab. As you can see, we provide information concerning the CC license under which the Pocket T-Rex Skull is licensed. In this particular instance, MakerBot has chosen to license the particular file under the “Attribution-ShareAlike” license. We provide a link to the “human readable” version of the license, which itself has a link to the license text. Remixes If you look back on the T-Rex page you may see the following link on the right side of the page. The Pocket T-Rex Thing is a remix of the T-Rex Skull located at the link. Please note that we explained how the Pocket T-Rex is different from the T-Rex Skull in the “Summary section.” This is another example of how we try to facilitate attribution. We allow users to easily show the connections between content shared through Thingiverse. How do you associate your Thing file with a remix source file? It’s easy. All you need to do is click the “This is a Remix” button on the “Upload a Thing” page. This brings up a search box that allows you to search for the source file(s). If a particular file on Thingiverse does not allow for the creation of derivative works, this information is provided in the searches. To reiterate, you should always respect the choices our users made in selecting a license. You can also click “Remix It” on the top right hand side of a Thing Page to post a new thing as a remix. Let’s say you found a Thing that you like and want to use it. How do you provide attribution in specific contexts? Online Postings If you post a Thing from Thingiverse on a blog or social media platform, you should follow the attribution obligations in the license itself. For example, you should mention the name of the creator or pseudonym if applicable, the title, a link to the Thing on Thingiverse and a reference to the specific CC license, including a link to it. Here is an example of what this could look like. The T-Rex Skull by Curriculum is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Share Alike license. Physical Models 3D Printing brings some complexity to the question of proper attribution. For example, what happens when someone downloads a Thing file and 3D prints it? How do they provide attribution in specific contexts? As mentioned above, the CC licenses provide some guidance in highlighting that the medium is important. If you are displaying MakerBot specific content like the Pocket T-Rex Skull at a trade-show or another event, we recommend also displaying the 2D printable sign that we provide. Here is an example of the printable sign. We are always looking for ways to improve our site and provide information to our community. We will continue to provide updates on these efforts.