Can I design or remix a model in SketchUp Make and legally share it via Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory or similar?

3dprinting
sketchup
licensing
advice
modeling

#1

SketchUp Make is licensed for non-commercial work only. In what ways does this restrict my use of SketchUp with sites that allow the sharing of models (and deisgn files) such as http://www.thingiverse.com/ and https://www.myminifactory.com/? I am particularly thinking about items designed for 3D printing but I do not think that exporting a file via the STL Exporter plugin changes their status as works produced using the tool.

For example, must I always set a non-commercial license for my designs? Thingiverse allows several different license choices to be selected.

Can I permit the design to be printed by someone for money? Thingiverse has links to 3dhubs.com and printathing.com which can be disabled per model.

Obviously the Pro version makes many of these restrictions go away which would be much simpler. However I do not expect to generate anywhere near the costs of purchasing a license by tweaking a few designs now and then. I want to comply with the licenses but I need to understand the limits of what I am permitted to do with SketchUp in order to do that.


#2

I have asked the same question on 3dprinting.stackexchange.com. If any definitive answers are reached on either site I will try to cross post them.


#3

if money is made with the results created in SketchUp a commercial use is typically given, regardless how much money is involved and can obviously not be circumvented by exporting the model to another format.


#4

the only binding is what the maker of the software defines in the according license agreement, not what people at Stack Exchange are assuming.


#5

Thank you for linking to the license agreement. I did have a quick look for an online copy of the license that applies to Sketchup Make but did not immediately find one.

I agree that the opinion of unqualified persons on any forum is only of limited value and that what matters is a judge’s ruling in the relevant jurisdiction. However I am not qualified to interpret the license and what the law limits, hence the question for clarification.

If I am very lucky some lawyers or a SketchUp representative will give a clear guideline of the limitations.


#6

You’ll need to employ a lawyer to to make the call. SketchUp team members can’t and won’t make statements about the legal aspect of using SketchUp.


#7

That was my feeling. However things are rarely black a white.

Let us assume that if I allow my works to be used for commercial purposes by a third party I am in violation of the license. That would clearly rule out my permitting any of the licenses that Thingiverse allows me to select but “Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike”.

However Thingiverse itself makes money by having content and I would be supplying content by sharing my work there in any form and under any license. Would that be a commercial use that I am forbidden to make?

Thingiverse is not alone, any website or service that uses content to drive a revenue directly or indirectly would count if we take a strict reading in isolation. Even uploading things to 3dwarehouse would be a violation of the license as Trimble is a commercial entity that makes money through 3D Warehouse either through advertising or sales of SketchUp Pro and other services.

Things I am certain I cannot do:

  • Sell a work or design I make in SketchUp Make.
  • Sell my time as a service using SketchUp Make to generate a design.

Things I am less clear on:

  • Permit anyone to ever financially benefit from a design that I have done in any way, including
    ** Selling the service of printing a work, where that work was generated using SketchUp Make
    ** Generating revenue from a website where my SketchUp Make generated content is hosted

#8

No lawyer will make a firm statement either so my money would be wasted. This is not a special case, it is a generic “No commercial use of output” license. There should be a generic statement of what is reasonable in those cases for most common jurisdictions.

If no one can provide an answer then the only safe option is to never use SketchUp and encourage all other users of 3D printers and entities that sell printing services to never accept work that might have come from a SketchUp Make software. That would be damaging to SketchUp sales as anyone interested in 3D printing related design would be foolish to ever look at using the tool without first outlaying the cost of two desktop printers. No hobbyists or students should go near it.

Things do not get any better if I then buy a license for SketchUp Pro. If I ever make a work based on something that was originally created in SketchUp Make that would have to carry the same restrictions.

“you may not sell, rent, lease or lend the output of the Software or the Services” Is there a distinction between gift and sale? Probably not, a sale for £0 is still a sale. That does not mention application to derivatives so allowing others to sell the service of printing designs that were created might be allowed but I cannot lease or lend them a design, so they cannot print it. We are back at either things can be uploaded and shared or they cannot.