A √ Doesn't = Decency

I’ve debated for a couple days as to whether it’s even worth posting this. Call it a rant, or that I’m just whining or griping. But I sorta see it as principle. So…

Several months ago, I tripped upon a model created by one of the very good modellers in the Warehouse. Problem is, that model was being displayed by a checkmark-carrying Warehouser in Products. There was no mention of the true author. At the time, a lame description (since removed) accompanied the model…and a few Warehousers, myself included, called this person out for the theft. We “regular” users can’t even add their models to a [public] collection… yet they can steal our models?

A couple days ago, I was looking for a Warehouser who “Liked” one of my models. In searching for that Warehouser, their username caused the search to return six items in Products - all the same. It appears to be quite obvious that one model is the original, the other five are exact copies downloaded and re-uploaded by five other verified providers. Seems that some of the checkmark-carrying Warehousers are no different than some “regular” users who will stoop to snatching models created by others and making it appear all the creativity and work are their own.

Now…I realize everything in the Warehouse is up for grabs, but even by Warehouse standards, a model can be flagged (and removed?) for being an exact duplicate of another model. And if I were a verified provider that created that model, or I was paying someone to create that model, I’d be pretty well jacked up to find that others were sitting back, perhaps collecting a tidy salary themselves, but doing no more work than a few cliks downloading MY model (or the model my employee created, and whom I am paying for such work), re-uploading it, and making it appear the model belongs to them or their company.

Seems to me, verified or not, there are unscrupulous, lazy, thieves on both sides of the Warehouse. Being a verified provider doesn’t seem to ensure any kind of integrity. I thought these users were vetted to some degree? Seems to me such users should lose their checkmarks - and their page. I guess like the rest of the Warehouse, the Products area is not monitored?


Not giving proper credit for models from other providers shouldn’t be awarded with special status by Trimble.

I don’t think there is an issue of profit here. They are just ignoring the proper creator of the intellectual property. In this regard, Trimble or the internet make no judgement apparently. If you don’t want your property to be readily usable, you may need it keep it off the internet or put it on a site that requires payment or some control.

How can anyone or Trimble know that someone took credit for creating the content and whether their client takes that into account in compensating them? Payment is based on results, and if the right product or idea is provided, the client will pay. They won’t care about where it came from, unless they were really expecting bespoke design, then: buyer beware and, “designer”…better run.

Unless of course, you are a US licensed architect. Then you are protected by federal copyright law.

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Could you give some examples of models you have seen, that are apparently re-uploads of models from the non-Product set, to the Product set?

@TheGuz may be able to say something about how to report such cases, and what we would then do about the offenders.

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I agree, and others may also post materials, which they have a copyright on. You then have to recognize the abuse of the copyright and take them to court.

In my first statement, I don’t mean to say abusers are right or that they aren’t trying to profit. I mean profit or none is not the issue, it is abuse of copyright itself that crosses the line.

It is similar to other situations in this digital age. Simply with pdf files as they are, I have seen contractors try to re-use engineering drawings on pdf from one house that they (might have) paid for and submit it for a another (different!) house plan without the engineer’s knowledge.

I haven’t thought how professional practice law applies to models posted on line, but it must be the same. And I think it is an infringement (maybe legally) and dishonest at the least to pretend something off the shelf as your idea. It just seems a long way from “protected” to actually getting your rights in a settlement, especially where the average 3d Warehouse user is in another country.

Almost any search in the 3D Warehouse brings up several copies of the same model, posted by different persons. How is one to determine who owns the actual credit?

Curious then… there are thousands and thousands of models of products made by modellers that copyright would still be active… eg cars, planes, furniture, architecture, engineering works… are they all breaching copyright?

PS 2.30am and reading Sketchup Forum on the hope that it will send me to sleep :slight_smile:

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I guess I should not have made any comment about people being paid to do this or that. My main point, as I said, was the principle of the whole thing - claiming credit for something that is not [yours], or leaving a viewer with the impression that [you] created the model they are looking at. People taking other peoples’ models and uploading them without so much as a mention of the true author. Really had nothing to do with who actually has the right to claim copyright, or who can sue who, or how much money someone might or might not make or lose. And just so it’s clear… I really don’t expect Trimple to do anything about all the “theft” on the peon side of the Warehouse. I do, however, believe that verified providers should not be allowed to copy models belonging to others whether that model was created by one of us or by another verified provider.

Do you mind me messaging that info to you? I ask because, you might notice, I mentioned no usernames, no model names, etc. I did not even mention the usernames of the verified providers.

There was a time when Model Info in the 3DWH included not only the date a model was last modified, but the date a model was actually uploaded - that usually made it pretty clear as to which model was the first to grace the vast halls of the Warehouse. Additionally, if you’ve been a member of the Warehouse since 2010 (for example), and I’ve been a member only since 2020, yet I have a model exactly like yours (same materials, same polygons, same file size, and quite often same bounds and distance from origin)… it’s pretty safe to say all I did was d/l your model and re-upload it. Might even add a small bit text to further lead viewers to believe that the model was created by me. And again, at some time, even the powers-that-be must have at least half-heartedly discouraged attempts at claiming credit for that which is not yours, or “Exact duplicate of another model” would not be among the reasons for flagging a model.

It’s worth posting because it’s a great topic and discussion is always interesting!

If all duplicate components were removed then the 3dW would shrink by a lot.
Until Trimble use a detection process for avoiding duplicates, I think it’s destined to happen. Because so many users worldwide either don’t understand or don’t care about copywrites… Remember most of the world has scant I.P. laws at all, so the very concept of “copywrite” doesn’t even translate.

I’m straying from your question here, ( maybe this could be a second discussion thread) but it touches on the perennial question “What is the 3d Warehouse”? The problem is akin to the evolution of the Internet. In its early days it was created by people (often aligned to universities) who were intelligent, not driven by commerce, and who loved to share their knowledge; Versus the internet in 2022 which is 90% memes, ads, fake news and clickbait. The 3d warehouse is a product of the 2022 internet community. To get quality content in 2022 we increasingly have to look beyond the paywall.

In my opinion (as somebody who has used 3d assets across many platforms, both paid and ‘community’-sourced) there is a possible solution.

  1. The “Free” Warehouse…

How about anything on here is considered “Free & Open Source”? No real need to copywrite the files, because , honestly, if a random guy in Tibet downloads your model, do you really care if your name is attached to it forever? You made it public, you could have sold it via a store. You could also become a Curator and host your own “channel” consisting of your models, and links to others. But, really, so long as anyone with an anonymous & free account can download your models, you will find them popping up everywhere you don’t expect.

Yes, this turns the 3d warehouse into somewhat of a “junk shop” of random stuff (gems are there, but you have to dig for them like a vinyl collector searches for a rare pressing of David Bowie). Good Curators are the key to making the experience more user-friendly, but the minecraft generation* will be quite happy to populate it with thousands of junk items. Trimble-provided incentives for curators are probably a good idea.
That brings me to the main part…

2. A new 3d warehouse store.

In fact, I’d view this as the “Showroom” (whereas the “Warehouse” is the “2nds” items out the back).
Pro & Shop** users would be able to upload to the “showroom” store and can easily get components by adding them to their subscription/store account (same as the Extension Warehouse). Products like bathroom fittings from manufacturers would be free, but there would be plenty of user-made ones, too, complete with appropriate commercial copyright attribution (and penalties for infringements). The showroom would not be as huge as the warehouse, but it would have high standards of modelling & metadata. The chance to compensate creators (even $1 per model $5 per collection adds up to an income stream quite quickly).
It could also apply some techniques like poly reduction or subdivision to change the complexity.

So…Is this a thing that could work when we already have the likes of Turbosquid?
Well, yes, because it’s about taking what we have now and making it better. And Turbosquid is great, but the models are expensive $15 to $150 and too complicated; render-ready, high poly assets targeted at viz and production pros, rather than much simpler ones for SketchUp users/designers. SketchUp has a much lower barrier to entry than 3dMax or Maya, so we’d expect simpler, cheaper (or free) components.

Finally. How many 3d warehouse models end up being used in Blender or similar? Is that a good business strategy from Trimble?

*I’m generalising, I mean “youths” …some minecraft gamers no doubt go on to become famous engineers and architects. Just like my generation built endless silly things from lego, if we had a “lego warehouse” it would be filled with art projects.

** I’m assuming Shop Users account for a lot of the “carpenters” and “3d printers/makers” out there (an important group for SketchUp!), but I’m not sure… at least it would be an incentive to upgrade from Web to Shop. Maybe a subscription comes with $50 of free Showroom downloads each year to sweeten the deal.


Bear in mind that sometimes the original model posted may have been been an organisational mess, unpurged, hidden objects, no structure, outrageous face counts… a very common occurrence… and maybe the copy is a vastly more efficient version of the original… is that copyright breach?

Well… again, I was simply talking about people taking other people’s models and not giving the original author a shout-out. My gripe is that some people seem to find it difficult to note who really created any particular model. And that gripe only took on a new life when I found a model from the regular side of the Warehouse, displayed oh-so-proudly by a checkmark-carrying member in Products. IMO, that’s just wrong.

Not sure how this has become a copyright discussion. I apologized for having said anything that made anyone think that’s what this is all about, and I’ve tried to steer things back to the issue - giving credit where credit should be due.

I have edited many a model to fit whatever I was working on at the time. If the author did not claim credit where it shows up in Model Info inside of SU, I note in my description the name of the model and the author. I will occasionally add “(edited).” But I still name the author. I must disagree that just cleaning up a model is an acceptable excuse not to credit the orignal author. And as far as that goes, I have actually seen models that were cleaned up, and the Warehouser that did so, also indicated who the original author was.

All I’m talking about is simple courtesy, decency. That’s all. If you like a model, hit the “Like” … that’s what it’s for. Leave a comment telling the author you like their model. Download it so you can crawl all thru it - I do that all the time. I add models that I really like to collections I’ve made. What I don’t do is take someone else’s model, re-upload it, and let it float out there leaving viewers to believe that it’s my model…like all the creativity and work were mine.

@AK_SAM … your idea sounds good. But I use a free desktop version of SU… therefore I would not be able to put any of the things I create in the Warehouse store you suggest. Sounds good, though, for the Pro and Shop users.


Hypothetically, would it motivate you to get a paid version of SketchUp if you could easily sell some of your components?
Even if you sold them for $0 for “non-commercial use” you would still get due credit and protections.

Steering back to the original subject… I doubt there’s a lot that could or will be done about reposting someone else’s work without credit to the original maker. As long as the Warehouse is a free commodity why would Trimble expend manpower and money policing it. The issue sort of relies on the honesty of the users, a virtue that doesn’t seem to be very important to a lot of people nowadays.
On a different note. I have my own ideas and opinions about the Warehouse that I think I’ll keep to myself for now.


Probably the Warehouse problems are minor in comparison to the models downloaded from there and then uploaded to the many sites that sell models.


Really? That is exactly the concern isn’t it? Somebody using someone else’s work without proper credit is exactly that.


Yes, feel free to message me with examples. Click my avatar then on Message.

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It absolutely is an issue of copyright.

Copyright is also automatic in almost all jurisdictions, there is no requirement to register it with anyone, - although it can help you in court to do so.

What is Trimble’s DMCA or other copyright infringement takedown process?

Any user doing what the OP describes has broken the 3D Warehouse T&C and General Model License Agreement (and is liable to pay Trimble any associated costs).


See FAQ 3 and 8, and General Model License 2.ii

The 3D Warehouse terms say that uploading means you are giving all 3D Warehouse users a limited, royalty-free license to use the model to create their own derivative work - with a few extra restrictions, mostly regarding trademarks.

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…and then there are the models that seem to have an origin in an external library, (e.g. Evermotion) and have been added to the 3DW, via translation from their original FBX/ OBJ format. I am sure that the original creators used Evermotion (etc) as the platform to receive reward for their work and not for a model to be given FOC. The daisy chain of re-authoring makes the providence of such files impossible to identify.

Since it seems that some want to convince me of what my OP was all about…I will just let those who have good reason to be concerned about copyrights, have this discussion their way. My OP was not about copyrights. I never gave copyrights any thought. As the title of the thread clearly indicates, this was all about decency, doing what’s right. Just a simple thing as letting viewers know, this model was created by __________. Ya know, sorta like saying thank you when you borrow something. Had nothing to do with people getting permissions and other such legalities to use something.

I’ve been a member of the Warehouse for about six years. I’ve seen people steal models left and right. I’ve seen the ones who’ve re-uploaded a model and even have the gall to write some BS description about how [as example] this is the house they lived in as a kid with their grandfather who built the house with his bare hands and now they’ve recreated his home SU. I don’t believe I’ve said much about theft beyond asking if Featured Community Models were check before going up on the 3DWH homepage… as I also believe that if a model is featured, the thief shouldn’t get the glory. This time around, the heartburn REALLY kicked in when I found a so-called verified provider doing just what some on the other side of the Warehouse do. And being that it was a verified provider, I just felt it was wrong and that they should be held to a higher standard.

And BTW…it had nothing to do with any of my models - none of mine are involved. Not even in the case of Featured Community Models.


I guess we’re confused how you don’t see giving credit and bad deeds for copying someone’s work and posting it as your own is not a copyright issue. I guess I’m missing something?