EU Copyright Directive and the future of the 3Dwarehouse

How will the proposed changes to European Law on ‘Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ affect the 3Dwarehouse?

The full proposal document is linked here: EUR-Lex - 52016PC0593 - EN - EUR-Lex

I am wondering if ‘Article 13’ in particular could forbid access to the 3DW from Europe? As it refers to “Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users”, which must include SketchUp models and the materials contained within them.

This is really one for the Trimble legal team, but it would also be good to start a discussion about the future of the 3Dwarehouse and what Europeans will do without it.

Refer to sections 24 and 25 … (and perhaps 27) …

Thanks Dan. So it looks like this means that either Trimble will need to change the terms of use to comply with the new EU laws or the 3DW service will be illegal (even blocked) in EU states.

To comply with the new law, I think the 3DW would need to filter uploads to ensure that Copyrighted material is not being shared and would need to notify the owner every time an infringement is detected. Removing infringements only by request (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) will not be good enough to satisfy the law.

It seems like this will be the end for the 3DW (and maybe even SU online) in Europe.

The way I read section 24, Trimble wouldn’t need to do anything about changing its terms. The responsibility seems to lie on the part of the user and it is on the user to determine the legality of their use of the 3D Warehouse.

The 3D Warehouse isn’t likely to be the only resource that will be impacted by this.

Assuming the 3D Warehouse content is off limits to Europeans, I expect some of them, at least, will learn to make the assets for themselves.

Hi Dave. I agree with your interpretation of Section 24 and I understand that the Terms of Service place the liability of sharing copyrighted material on the user, and along with Section 27, where material can get removed through a copyright claim, it shows Trimble are taking preventive measures.

However, this new law places the liability on the “information society service providers”, which store and give access to work uploaded by users. Therefore, Trimble will be liable if copyright is infringed.

An example, with three possible infringements, would be if I re-uploaded this model of Mickey Mouse: Mickey Mouse 2D | 3D Warehouse

First, I do not own the rights of the model, I didn’t make it (or transform it), it is a copy.

Second, I do not own the rights of the texture, it is not my own image and no source or credit is provided.

Third, I do not own the rights of the Character. Just search for ‘Disney’ in the 3DW and you will quickly see the scale of this issue. Search for disney | 3D Warehouse

Whilst my work on 3DW is actually 99.9% original, I have used the odd texture that I do not own, and also some of my original textures have been used by others without my permission, but I consider these instances as fair-use, shared through open-source and within the public domain.

But, if the law requires me to have/give licence for each use, then the 3DW service cannot accommodate this and will be liable to lawsuits. I don’t know if this can/will be enforced, but it could mean that Trimble decide to pull the service from Europe altogether, which will be bad for everyone.

There is nothing more I can do about it, besides raise awareness. The vote to pass this law is happening in 2 weeks and it looks like it could go through. This is not just an issue for 3DW, it will drastically change the internet in Europe, with many web-services being affected, like Wikipedia, Reddit, Github and Soundcloud for example. Open-source internet is under attack in the name of IP piracy. More information here:

“It would basically be Youtube’s copyright content filter, except everybody would have to use it for everything. Not filtering would be a liability.”

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I haven’t read the full text but if this is the dreaded article 13 people talk about it would probably mean Trimble has to either manually or by bot check ALL content uploaded by users to see if it is copyright infringement. This is a quite crazy law that seems to be written by people who have never used the internet.

I’m not sure if it applies to services serving European citizens (as GDPR) or only services hosted in the EU though.

The 3DW service is headquartered, hosted and operated in the U.S. and by using the 3DW all users agree that the governing law is that of the state of California and the United States.

If a user’s jurisdiction passes a law that prohibits their citizens from using foreign services in other countries that don’t comply with their laws, … then the user must stop using the service.
(Section 24., 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence.)

Basically it amounts to an embargo by the EU. But I don’t think it is aimed at the 3DW.
It is aimed at sites that distro pirated video, movies and music.

There is more of the 3DW Terms that have bearing here, and this is section 9.

Part B makes each model submitter grant license for their model’s use.

And part D, where Trimble disclaims responsibility, warranty etc., … and will not check for
… and “compliance with law (copyright, patent or any other laws)”.

So, part 9.D seems to be in conflict with the EU’s new proposal.

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Hi guys,

Copyright law is notoriously complex and has far-reaching implications on the internet. Like all operators of content repositories on the internet, we are watching this discussion. But I think it is premature to speculate on the impact this would have on Trimble’s product strategy for 3D Warehouse.



Article 13 has been heavily criticized and it is feared it would affect Wikipedia, GitHub, YouTube and other services where anyone can upload content. It is said that such services would be required to use automatic filters to stop any potential copyright infringement. If true this would greatly affect the spread of legal content as well, and seriously affect the freedom on the internet, as automatic filters always will have false positives, and as not all services have the resources to implement such filters.

Perhaps it would be wise of Trimble to investigate the situation well ahead of the vote, and then decide how to proceed.

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I did not understand everything but that would mean that you do not have the right to model something under copyright?

No. Strictly speaking, you cannot model anything that is not under copyright, yours. Without reading the actual proposal, what is proposed is that the service provider is responsible for illegal content made available through the service - for instance if you post a model that is not originally yours. It is kind of reasonable, but I have serous doubts about how it could be enforced in practice. Compulsory digital signing?

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Ouf I was afraid some of my models would be deleted

It’s nearly impossible to establish copyright with 3D models. For example, i draw a house from a photo and upload it to 3DWH. Somebody else does the same. Others use these models to create neighbourhoods and cities. The original architect calls foal. How does it all get sorted? In English law, there has to be a tort, but the models are in the public domain with no harm done, and therefore no tort.

None of the models are in public domain unless their author explicitly says so.

Thank you for sharing your views. IMHO, I believe that models on 3D Warehouse are in the public domain and here is why. They are not uploaded as objects of wonder, to be viewed only - YouTube is the portal for that. They uploaded for sharing and there are seldom any copyright signs in the models I have downloaded. In the art world, it’s simple - use the copyright mark and the use of your work is subject to copyright laws. If you don’t use it, it is not. Uploaded 3D models are editable and can be altered in every way imaginable. It is intrinsic in SketchUp that uploaded models (that not marked as copyright) and made available to the public under the words “share your model” must be in the public domain". It does not say “show off your model”. The word “share” are everywhere in Trimble’s work. Sharing means freedom to use responsibly. Google created the platform specifically for sharing, to inspire people to create.

The issue comes when money is involved and apportioning wealth. That is when it gets tricky. Fortunately for Trimble and most creators, money is only made when the model becomes something tangible, a physical house or tool or garden. But until then, I figure creators are free to publish their work and and take pride in watching it circulate as other build on their models. I love Isaac Newtons words - “I stand on the shoulders of Giants”.

I don’t believe this is a question of believing. We cannot just assume something is in public domain because we interprete a possible intention of the model developer that fits most to our likings.

The terms of use give a very clear answer about this (that they are unclear):

The model developer still owns all rights (copyright and all applicable law worldwide), with the exception that they grant a license of use with certain restrictions to 3D Warehouse and all downloaders.

This license allows copying, derivatives and redistribution but does not transfer ownership. It even restricts downloaders so that any existing copyright notices may not be removed. This is significantly different from public domain, to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply.


I see what you did there :stuck_out_tongue: .

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I believe that the FAQ gives us a few possibilties of how you may use the models of the 3D-Sharehouse

Off course, like Newton said, standing on the shoulders of Giants is maybe accepted in the scientific domain, many others backs of the lesser are hurt and used in the public domain.

Last question is the best :wink:

Is 3D Warehouse really as awesome as everyone says?
Answer: We cannot confirm or deny the awesomeness of 3D Warehouse.

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