We've made a big change here at The3dStudio.com - We've gone generic!
Doesn't sound so exciting when you use the word "generic" but that's the easiest way to describe our new direction. Unbranded is another way.
What does that mean exactly?
In short, all copyrighted and trademarked content / products have been removed from The3DStudio.com and we will no longer allow the sale of that type of content. We will only allow generic or unbranded content now.
What is a copyrighted / trademarked model?
Generally speaking, these are exact copies of real world / manufactured items. For example, a model of a Ferrari sports car, a Boeing 747, a Fender guitar, a Smith and Wesson revolver, and the list goes on and on. Have a stock photo of a Coke can? That image can no longer be sold here.
Why on earth are we doing this?
Several reasons. First, we’re part of the 3D Systems family and our legal team thinks this is the best way to go for our future. There are too many DMCA takedown issues, potentially legal gray areas, and we want to always do what is morally and ethically correct. We believe that all 2d & 3d marketplaces are going to run into major legal struggles over time and that’s not a place we choose to put our buyers, our sellers, or ourselves.
Second, we want to set ourselves apart from the crowd. The3dStudio.com has always been about innovation and blazing our own trail rather than following the crowd and we think that this strategy will give us a long term edge.
Won’t this impact my sales?
For some sellers it may impact your sales. In some cases it may be a small impact, in others it may be a huge impact. A lot depends on what type of models you were selling. The good news is that by making a move like this we’ve leveled the ENTIRE playing field on The3dStudio.com so no one seller has an advantage over another. Everyone has a brand new opportunity to make big sales!
What do I do next?
Start creating more generic or unbranded content! For example, there is a huge market for generic aircrafts of all types (from small planes to huge jumbo jets). Cars remain hugely popular so consider offering a generic SUV, sports car, pickup truck, semi, and so on. Watercraft, weaponry, electronics, tools, and sports related models, are just a few categories to think about! Un-branded content is huge in the world of video games, marketing / advertising, architecture, and so on.
It’s also an untapped market that’s waiting for some creative 3d artists to fill the current voids. Now is your chance to be ahead of the competition!
I will try and update this post as I can to answer the questions that are coming in to us since many are the same questions from different people. So I just want to make a few points…
1. Are you people insane / crazy / insert-your-own-word-here?
We know it’s hard to understand why so much content would be removed like this and how this can appear as a negative thing. It will negatively impact some sellers but we’re seeing a lot of feedback from sellers who understand why we did it and are embracing the idea of going generic.
A lot of sellers are seeing a big opportunity here and realize they’re getting in on the ground floor of an entirely new way to sell stock content. Many are racing to create new and exciting content that will fill many new voids (vehicles, aircraft, and watercraft are some of the biggest voids right now). This will open up our site to many more potential customers and many of you are seeing that. Some saw it on their own, others took a bit of conversion to get it :) Sound like some marketing babble I just made up?…I know, sounds corny but this is the truth.
2. How exactly is this legally good for me as a seller?
I hear this one a lot because I am trying to explain to sellers that selling copyrighted content is only setting yourself up for potential legal problems.
You see, as a service provider, a site like The3dStudio.com would follow the rules of the DMCA. If a model is in violation of a copyright then we get notice, remove it, and forward the notice to the seller and wash our hands of it. YouTube worked this way as well, and so the person who uploaded a copyrighted video to YouTube could run into legal trouble while YouTube could get protection from the DMCA.
So what happens if you start selling car models that are based on real cars, using copyright designs, trademarked logos, and so on? What happens when that real car company comes after you? Hard to say exactly, but would you want to be on the bad end of that scenario? Is it worth being sued over? Is it worth losing your house over? Is it worth being financially ruined over? Is it even worth the stress you’d face if you got legal demand papers?
We don’t think it’s worth that so the moral and ethical option is to do our part and not offer those items, which should help keep you out of legal trouble. Of course, if you still sell those models on other sites then we can’t help you and you retain the risk of legal problems!
3. Isn’t this a violation of your license agreement?
No, our EULA hasn’t change at all. The simple fact is that the very first item list in our EULA reads “Members may only upload Product/Content they own or otherwise have the right to use and upload.” and yet too many authors didn’t follow this and we weren’t enforcing that the right way. We’re simply being better about complying with our EULA before we get flooded with DMCA takedowns. For those in the MLP, none of the terms there have changes either and MLP agreements remain for any existing products still on The3dStudio.com.
4. What about Editorial Licenses?
An Editorial License is supposed to let certain people use a copyrighted item in a certain way. For example (and I’m generalizing here), CNN can run a story about Pepsi and show a Pepsi can on the TV and that’s okay because it’s an “editorial” use because it’s for a story that is newsworthy.
The problem with an Editorial Only License is that the buyers often don’t realize the restrictions on this type of license. Sure, it’s legally their problem to know the rules but why put them in that position if we don’t have to?
What’s worse is that an Editorial License, if followed correctly by the end user, only means that the end user can use it for newsworthy purposes. It doesn’t mean that the seller (or us) can profit from it. We could offer an Ed Only license, get a DMCA, and would still need to remove the offending item anyhow. You as the seller would still be legally liable for selling it as well. An Ed Only license doesn’t get you off the hook and that’s why we won’t offer it (not even on stock images any longer).
5. Won’t this cause you to lose sales?
In the short term we may see a negative sales impact from this move. In the long run we think it will make our site and, we hope, the entire stock marketplace and community stronger.
Here in the USA we have a large drug / health store chain called CVS. CVS just announced that by the end of the year they will stop selling cigarettes in their stores. This is a product that brings in around two billion dollars a year and they’re removing it.
Why? Because they realized that they are in the business of getting people healthy and cigarettes make people sick and have this nasty side effect of killing people. Sure, we could say that candy and such is bad for your health too but those items aren’t bad if taken in moderation whereas cigarettes are bad 100% of the time and in any quantity.
So they’ll stop selling smokes and lose $2,000,000,000.00 per year. Ouch. But it’s the right moral and ethical choice. In the long run it will prove to be smart. In fact, it’s that sort of thinking that makes me WANT to shop at a CVS and I won’t be alone in that thinking. I will choose that chain over a competitor JUST because of that.
Sometimes we just have to do what is right (morally, ethically, legally, or just plain common sense if you prefer) and deal with the negative consequences in the short term to make sure we are improving over the long run.
6. Why did you remove one of the generic models I was selling?
It’s possible we removed something by mistake, if that’s the case please let us know the name of the model and we’ll check it out and re-activate it if that’s the case.
7. Do I need to list my model as generic then?
No, and please don’t. Please don’t try to call your model generic, unbranded, and so on. We’re even filtering those words out. The entire point here is that EVERYTHING we sell is now generic, unbranded, etc and so we don’t need to list them as such.
8. Can I take my Audi car model and just not call it an Audi?
No, it’s still an Audi so you can’t sell it. Even if you remove the Audi logo it’s still and Audi and we can’t sell it here. Instead, you need to make a generic car model. Think of your own design for a sports car, SUV, truck, whatever. Be creative. Be original. It can still look like a vehicle you’d see on the road in real life, only of your own design.
One seller mentioned the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) games and that’s a great example. I can play that game and hope in a sports car and it might resemble bits of other real cars but each car in that game is its own unique design (aka, generic). Game developers crave this type of model for the SAME reason they’re in GTA…the game dev’s don’t have to license the vehicles from a manufacturer!
9. Can I used brand names in the keywords if my model is generic?
No! If you make a generic wrist watch you CANNOT use words like “Rolex” or “Swatch” anywhere in the product list (name, description, keywords, etc). If we see brand names we will assume it’s based on a copyrighted item and simply delete the model from our site. Period.
Did you also know that some terms that sound generic are actually copyrighted? That Xerox model you made might be generic but the word “Xerox” is not. Maybe you made a Jet Ski watercraft which is generic but “Jet Ski” is a trademarked term. What about a generic formula one car? Sorry, terms like Formula 1 (which will include formula one) are trademarked!
In most cases it should be obvious, Rolex is a great example of a word we all know is a company. In other cases you may not know that Formula 1 is trademarked so Google it first to see or contact us and ask BEFORE adding that word to your product. If we see it in the product and it’s trademarked we’ll deactivate the product right away.