Illustration question regarding Sketchup and 3DWarehouse

If an artist uses a model in the warehouse as reference or traces over the perspective but makes changes while doing so is that allowed? If an artist were to make a book like that would they still need a license if they are not directly copying the model? Also, I heard that previous SketchUps (like SketchUP 2018) are allowed for commercial use, is that true? And if it is how does that relate to the 3DWarehouse?

I had asked this question directly to SketchUp and they could not provide me with an answer.

You should read the Terms of Use for the 3D Warehouse. If you still need clarification, you should seek legal counsel. Unfortunately no one here, including Trimble employees can give a definitive or legally binding answer to your question.

One thing is clear, however, if you are using SketchUp in anyway for your art and you are selling your artwork, you must have a license for either SketchUp Pro or SketchUp Shop. SketchUp Free and SketchUp Make are not licensed for such use.

I did read them. I think most people find them unclear. As for legal counsel, that’s what most people say though you would think as this point since it is said so often there would be more answers, but I assume most people don’t want to spend money on legal counsel for something like this.

I don’t know what most people are willing to do but the SketchUp team are not permitted to give legal advice regarding the terms of use. I’m not a Trimble employee so I’m not forbidden from making a statement as to what I think the terms say but I won’t for obvious reasons.

If people don’t want to spend money for legal counsel, it’s up to them. I guess it’s like choosing not to spend money on auto insurance and hoping you don’t end up on the wrong end of it.

Thanks anyway!

Intellectual property law is deep, complex and far less black and white than most folks would like. Regional differences aside, the question you’re asking (provided you are in the US) is most closely related to copyright. Broadly, you (as an artist) are asking for permission to create a derivative work based on the work of another artist.

The Wikipedia page on Copyright does a pretty good job of explaining how copyright works for creators of all kinds. Technically, all copyrights belong naturally to the creator of the copyrighted work, except for those rights explicitly granted by the creator to another party through some kind of license agreement. Our 3D Warehouse Terms of Use, in this case.

Legal documents are difficult to read by people who are not trained in the complex (though legally binding) language of an agreement like our 3D Warehouse Terms of Use. Unfortunately, any time our team ‘interprets’ those terms for you in more natural language, we undermine their legal power in ways from which nobody (neither our users nor our company) ultimately benefits. So we habitually don’t interpret the terms.

If you are asking because you need to formally clear rights before publishing a book, your publisher can provide legal guidance for you.

On the other hand, if you are just trying to think through the problem for future reference, I’d suggest the following: How would you want your rights (as an artist) to be protected if you were on the other side of the question? If, for example, you had created a model that someone else traced into a book for publication? What would you want creators of derivative works to do for you? Start from that basis and you’ll reach the right conclusion most of the time.



Thank you!