To Sell or Not To Sell Free Designed 3D Objects?


A scandal broke out around the Thingiverse and Makerbot’s Creative Commons that offer free databases of 3D printing models. The main sense of these sites is to share designs of 3D models for everyone who wants to print them for himself or sent them to a service for printing. While the company Just3DPrint decided to use the disinterestedness of the design makers to make money selling all this free designed printed stuff on eBay.  Such behavior contradicts to all the ideas the authors meant by their joining Creative Community.

A 3D Sad Face has appeared on internet as an answer to the illegal action of Just3DPrint created by a popular 3D designer, Louise Driggers. By this action she wanted to involve the company in a dialogue, hinting that it doesn’t have the right to sell 3D items without commercial license and creator’s approval. Just3DPrint got involved in the dialogue and wrote the following:

“Stratasys/Thingiverse is DIRECTLY enabling commercialization of the “non-commercial thing” in exchange for $ from 3D Hubs. While at the moment the program is an opt-in, don’t be surprised if very soon Thingiverse makes the 3D Hubs icon either opt-out or non-removable entirely. While we could list several other ways Thingiverse makes $, any creator should get the picture by now-Thingiverse exists to make Stratasys $ off of creators’ designs in direct violation of its very own “non-commercial” license. If a creator is OK with a billion-dollar Israeli company monetizing his/her designs, but hates on a Philly startup trying to make ends-meat, then they have a very strange position indeed.”

A lot of makers emphasize that there are many commercial services like Shapeways where makers can sell their models as long as they can get the commercial license to their products to make money for that. While the Thingiverse and Makerbot’s Creative Commons were made for sharing the pleasure of designing, downloading and printing the objects your mind have created.

It will be pity if such great intellectual donations are locked for people because of the unfair and venal usage of them! It’s so easy to make people happy just to let them print whatever they want and it’s so easy to make them sad selling the things that aren’t supposed for that.


UPDATE June 20 2017:

We received an email from Just3DPrint with the following message:

“In Philadelphia Municipal Court Case SC-17-02-24-6077 we were cleared of any wrong-doing in said controversy and received money damages from defamatory coverage of the controversy”.

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