We’re reading a very detailed account of the theft and exploitation of a 3D model theft that recently took place - and was successfully resolved.
The case was presented by 3Dprintler Labs, an Ottawa-based 3D model and print service company. To their surprise, they found one of their designs being sold by another retailer.
The case involved a 3D printed modification to a DJI Phantom quadcopter, where the original 3D model was posted to Thingiverse. The Thingiverse posting included the standard Creative Commons license, which specifically meant it could be used for noncommercial purposes so long as attribution was credited.
That wasn’t the case when 3Dprintler discovered their modification being sold by several online Drone retailers. That’s definitely commercial use. Upon contacting one of the offending vendors, they discovered that the vendor had been sold the design by a third party, having been told it had approval from the designer. But they had not.
A lawsuit was launched against the product seller, his organization and the retailer, which was quickly settled out of court. While minor damages were awarded, the major outcome was the firing of the seller. You can read the whole story in glorious pictorial detail at the link below.
We’re thinking there are more outcomes to this case. First, it adds to the legal momentum growing around the ownership of designs. Previously, designs seemed to be “free for all” in some quarters. That quarter should now be shrinking.
Secondly, we suspect events such as this will discourage some from posting their potentially valuable designs to Thingiverse or similar repositories, for fear of similar happenings. We may see a drop off in publicly available interesting designs.
Finally we could see some movement towards streaming 3D print solutions such as Authentise or Secure3D, both of which are apparently being considered by 3Dprintler.
Someone always spoils it for everyone else.