Continuing the discussion from Hobbyist woodworker question:
OP on the original thread is a hobbyist who occasionally sells furniture he’s made from designs he created in SketchUp.
Is this commercial use? Here are my thoughts:
Disclaimer: I am NOT a lawyer. This should not be used as legal advice. It is my thoughts only. For exact answers, consult a lawyer or (in this case) talk to Trimble.
My first thought is to take this to reducto ad absurdum. Say I design something in Sketchup which I then build and use for years in my home. Then, I come up with something better - and sell the original in a garage sale for less than the cost of the original materials and less than the cost of the materials I used for it’s replacement. I have not benefited monetarily from the sale, just caused something I’d have otherwise tossed to be re-used by someone else - and partially offset the material cost of it’s replacement. I would not call this commercial use.
How about this: I made something for my own use using a design I created in SketchUp. A friend visiting my home admires it and asks how she can get one. Since it’s not commercially available, and she’s a good friend, I offer to make one for her. I ask her to pay for the material, but my labor is a gift. Again, I would not call this commercial use.
Another friend admires the same piece, but is an avid hobbyist woodworker, so asks for the plans (which I provide) and builds it himself. Yet again, I would not call this commercial use.
Later the friend - to whom I provided plans - visits again and raves about the piece he made. It’s been such a hit with HIS visitors that he’s decided to try making them and selling them on Etsy - clearly this is commercial activity on his part - but not commercial activity for me. Should he be expected to by a SketchUp Pro license - even though he’s never used SketchUp? Should I be expected to now by a Pro license?
Fast forward a few months. The piece is selling on Etsy about once/month. My friend is making (net) $20/piece. He tells me he’s decided to give me 20% of any profits he has in recognition of my design. Should I now by a Pro license in order to receive $4/month from this friend?
Stepping back from these specific scenarios, I think it comes down to two factors: Intent and Profit.
Intent If you created the design, or repeated a build of a design you originally built for yourself, with the specific intent to sell it, you are clearly a commercial user.
If you never intended to sell the design, or a work based on the design, but changes in your life or the actions of others cause an incidental profit, then I would not consider it to be commercial use. However:
Profit If the profit is more than incidental - say your friend started selling 3 pieces on Etsy every day (giving you a $12/day payment) - then I’d consider this a commercial use on your part. You should either refuse payments from your friend or pony up and buy a Pro license.
The nitpicker in me wants to continue with exploration of the grey areas, but the editor in me says I should stop now. For now, I’m going to listen to the editor and close this with: