3d warehouse creeps me out (a little)

We all know there’s a lot of junk on the Trimble 3d Warehouse. Some people do post some useful items made nicely in SketchUp. A lot seems to be made in other programs. A lot of it is junk for the reason it is poorly modeled or bloated, out of scale etc. Then there’s just dumb stuff or sad half-baked models (so …it’s OK kids can put stuff up too). And then there’s misogynistic, borderline pornographic people models. Overwhelmingly white people too I notice.

Then again along the lines of people and car models, you’ll find stuff that is basically TOO good. Models that look professionally made and simply don’t appear to be made by the poster. Some posters have obviously gone overboard uploading a lot of this sort of model, and apparently Trimble doesn’t care. It looks like stolen goods. Some people put links, in their model posts, to sites where they got it (to give credit I guess). And those sites are full of pirated software as well.

So I look at some of these and think, “This people (or car) model could be useful in my render,…but should I download it?” Kind of a different feeling than I associate with SketchUp generally.


What do you sugguest to make it better?

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As I understand it you describe two problems:

There is bad content.

  • Trimble could select and curate good content (like with categories) to make it more prominent.
  • Trimble could remove bad quality content if it seems barely reusable to users (but then 3DWH is less open)
  • You could report content that violates the ToS (but a lot of borderline content just doesn’t violate rules enough).
  • Trimble could curate modelers or raise the barrier of entry (like charging 50¢/month) but then 3DWH is less open.

There is content with unknown usage permissions or from untrusted sources.

I personally observe the same when I search for textures or images on the internet. It is not so much a problem for documents that I create for myself than for documents I want to publish. It is hard to find content where I can be 100% sure I’m allowed to use and redistribute it. Either content has no professionally citable sources or I cannot believe they are right (“free stuff” that looks too professional).
In that case I restrict my search to Creative Commons licensed content because it is explicit about what I can do, it is well-defined how to cite and it is trackable (e.g. in file metadata, or if you keep attribution file).

  • One could say that for 3DWH, explicit standard content licenses are redundant because it has Terms of Service and it requires uploaders to give 3DWH and its users all permissions etc. But a custom Trimble ToS license has no concise way to cite it.
  • And the ToS do not guarantee to downloaders that the uploaders actually own the rights. It’s not enforced, not trustable. It seems valid content without sources/license tends to be indistinguishable from stolen content. In contrast, I rarely see content that looks stolen and the thief even bothered to relicense it with a fake CC license.
  • And it’s not trackable. There is no source metadata attached. Once downloaded into my model I could somewhen not know anymore where I got it from (e.g. 3DWH), and I could not later recheck the permissions of usage (e.g. Trimble ToS).

I agree, except that there are plenty of models well past the borderline.
There’s content in the 3DWH that most folks would definitely consider NSFW or the schoolroom.

Back in August 2018, I asked Trimble if all 3DWH content was visible in SketchUp for Schools.
This was their reply:

“SketchUp for Schools allows users to view and download models on the 3DW, but they cannot upload models. The view and download interface in SketchUp for Schools is the same as in SketchUp Free.”

What are the consequences for Trimble when that content pops up in front of students, parents, teachers, a local school administrator, a local school board meeting or it ends up in front of a State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

Separating the wheat from the chaff, a curated collection, would be ideal, but costly.
As it is, 3DWH is akin to Fibber McGee & Molly’s Hall Closet

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I’m not clear on the legal ramifications. Do the Tos free Trimble of any consequences of copyright infringement?

Throw off questionable models and ban multiple abusers. After all Trimble owns the site, they can do as they want. One can argue they have money to create the site but not enough to do it right.
A less expensive way is allow users (current licensed Pro SketchUp users) to vote content and people off, 5 votes and the bots escort you to the door.

I’m feeling very autocratic! A sign of the times?

It IS sort of like a garage sale (where everything is free)—I guess my VERY first choice is not to use it if it bothers me too much.

The vagaries of quality that is evident in the warehouse is a direct result of the google free version era. Resolving that is akin to solving the 80’s (pro) issues while ignoring the 60’s (free) issues.
Developers cannot ignore what comes before nor can they know what comes after, but users can complain indefinitely when what they had before isn’t what they expected to have now. How dare anyone give anything away for free that their ancestors may charge for at some time in the future.
And who are we to question that which is given away for free. Personally I don’t use the warehouse.