Does blender artists own files I use for help?

If I upload a file for help or demonstration, is it explicitly in blenderartists’ user agreement that I retain any and all rights to the files I uploaded for help? Because I was planning on using a particular model for a commercial project and I don’t want to deal with people losing everything out from under them over some greed clause, and I’m sure thousands of other users don’t want to either.

The word “retain” isn’t in the agreement which is troubling because that’s a very common legal term used to describe the retention of right to submitted or posted work of artists.
Secondly, blenderartists doesn’t actually specify what it means by “user contributions” despite that blenderartists claims all rights to them, so anyone who has ever uploaded anything is in danger of losing any associated project that has any component of something they uploaded here.
It explicitly says that using blenderartists doesn’t transfer any rights to the user for using the site, but it doesn’t have the basic decency to specify anything about blenderartists not owning anything that the user uses.

See Terms of Service, point 3: everything you upload will be covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Anything you post or upload is considered a ‘user contribution’.

3. User Content License

User contributions are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Without limiting any of those representations or warranties, Blender Artists has the right (though not the obligation) to, in Blender Artists’s sole discretion (i) refuse or remove any content that, in Blender Artists’s reasonable opinion, violates any Blender Artists policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Website to any individual or entity for any reason, in Blender Artists’s sole discretion. Blender Artists will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid.

So in other words, if someone simply comes here for help about a 3D model they own and then they upload said model to a forum post, they no longer own the 3D file and thus are in immediate danger of losing any business or agreement associated with that file due Blender Artists. Alright good to know, time to spread awareness and this section is valid towards all of the thousands of uploaded files that may have been used in published animations, short films, games, maybe even commercials or sold assets.

No I don’t believe that’s the case. It simply says that you’re posting your content under the specified CC license, NOT that you’re transferring ownership. You keep the rights to your work.

You post your content under the CC license. That means if your post contains the content of a 3D model you spent 100 hours on, now you don’t own it anymore, it’s under a CC license. That’s quite a despicable failure to the artists of your website, art is already hard enough to make a living off of and your essentially helping pirate it.

If you do not want the CC license to be applied to your file, simply post it somewhere else (like on your own site) and link to it.

Which doesn’t solve the problem that someone has to be spontaneously cautious towards a website with a formerly good reputation and double check an agreement and then start a thread like this to find that answer. How much do you want to bet there are users who have uploaded files on this site, inaccurately thinking they still retain ownership to them? A lawsuit’s worth? Whoever owns the site should clearly change the agreement immediately. Contributions to the site are very specific and intentional, so it should specify that only uploaded files that users choose to contribute through a specific submission process then become under a CC license.

Are you threatening us with a lawsuit here? Please be specific so I know how to handle you going forward.

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I can answer your question with certainty only after the user agreement is retroactively changed to reflect that the site’s fiasco is rectified. Users should only be giving away their assets they spent tedious hours on when they are aware they are making the choice of doing such.

Simply add a text block in your blend file when posting that you retain ownership and what license you would like enforced concerning the content. I can’t imagine that the website rules trump the actual file license if it is published within the blend.

Really, why would you post up a completed work without already deciding if you intend on releasing it for CC use or not? Typically we post parts of models or screen shots showing the problem, not full models, and the advice over the years has been as such.


A similar suggestion was already proposed. The problem remains of Blender Artists abusing the trust of users. A user would have to first suspect that a normally admired site is so incompetent as to either intentionally or unintentionally pirate people’s files, then check through the user agreement, then verify they’ve interpreted it correctly to make that conclusion, a series of events that you have no reason to assume happens with each user.

Even if it’s not complete work, it’s still detrimental. Imagine a possible circumstance like that you’re an indie game designer who wants some help or feedback regarding a character for your unfinished game that you’ve spend dozens or hundreds of hours on. You go here asking for help or some feedback on aesthetics, and then someone else catches wind of it and immediately downloads that character to use it for their own game since it is legal to do so under this site’s agreement. Then, they use their either superior capital or smaller game size to publish the game with their character first.
Or worse yet, Blender Artists with its superior resources itself takes the character for its own animation or short film or logo to publish a blog post or news letter and gains add revenue and a sponsorship while you get next to nothing because it’s under a CC license, and that character is then permanently associated with the site instead of any of your own works they were unprepared to publish.
Or even still, a random user sees the file, then downloads it, then sells it to customers as an obj or fbx or max who are unaware of blender.
Why should the original artist suffer any of that simply by asking for feedback or help? It just doesn’t make any sense, that shouldn’t be a risk of using this site, it could only possibly be beneficial to users if their files are more protected, so I honestly can’t understand why you’d even bother debating it. If users want to consciously choose to release something under a CC license, that’s fine, I don’t see many people opposed to that, but it’s the issue in the instances where Blender Artists has done it without their knowledge.

Quite literally impossible imho becaus of this:

If you have made a great, well constructed, textured, masterful game character with rig and have posted it, and somebody snags it to use - then it is ighly improbable that they would also be able to publish a game with matching technical quality in the environments, actions, effects, etc. and not look like someone that just pirated a game character to rush out a project and try to garner interest in a game that is basic and unfinished. Also unlikely that they would also then include equally high quality game characters and assets that all look like they belong together - which is what AAA games have, aesthetic continuity.

If you post up on the internet on your own site and have your license displayed in your file, you still have to trust that people will respect it. You cannot enforce much on your own, you can only ask that they respect your IP and hope for the best. Posting here doesn’t give and it being CC is to actually let you get that collaboration and receive the assistance - otherwise you would have to legally clear others before having them collaborate with you on your file, and you still woudl take the chance that they would use it for their own agenda, right?

Plenty of times people have posted up their renders out there and someone has ripped them off, using them for their own projects instead of getting permission - this has happened a few times that I can directly remember the threads. The material was recognized and the thief was shamed, and the original artist was at least recognized for their work at best - but that doesn’t solve the problem of sharing on the internet.

I do hope you get this question resolved, but I don’t think that it is as troublesome as first thought. Maybe they can get a better answer to explain the scenarios better than I can though, they have more experience than I do…

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There is no logical reason to conclude that. Someone may have already built a game that looks well and cut a corner by taking someone else’s character. Furthermore, there are factors beyond the mere look of a game that affect whether it makes sales or downloads. Regardless of the technical possibilities, it is beyond possible that it benefits the taker at a greater expense to the original artist. It might be normal, but that doesn’t make it right, there’s no reason to expose countless users to the loss of ownership of their assets unless you plan on directly benefiting from it.

What is troublesome is that you are either advocating irrationally despite your acclaimed experience with this exact issue, or, that you are intentionally trying to sway the debate against the agreement being modified because you yourself rely on taking work from unsuspecting artists on these threads. There is no guarantee that someone who gets ripped off will be able to track down the offender, and even if they do, there is no guarantee they can do anything about it, certainly not a cease and desist for a CC asset.

You are choosing to post in a publicly available space. Don’t post anything you don’t want to be publicly available.

I do work under NDA regularly, and if I have a question about something regarding those projects, I would create a separate file to demonstrate my issue. Because I have no expectation of privacy in a publicly available space.


Regardless of your arbitrary opinion on whatever you think users should do, you can’t guarantee that it happens, and it’s still an unnecessary risk to users. It might be normal, but that doesn’t make it healthy to the public, there’s no reason to expose countless users to the loss of ownership of their assets unless you plan on directly benefiting from it.

For instance, you might tell someone not to smoke cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean tobacco companies shouldn’t be informing the public about its health hazards, and it doesn’t mean doctors should be telling people there’s no risks associated with it.

I should make it clear that I’ve had the exact caution you recommended for most files I’ve uploaded to sites like this, and yet here I am saying that there are other people who coincidentally may not have thought of that and therefore are subject to unnecessary detrimental losses.

@PixelLove3D What do you think about this point? I don’t know why BlenderArtists chose to apply a CC license to user content, but it definitely makes sense for this problem. How would you solve this?

“because you yourself rely on taking work from unsuspecting artists on these threads”

LOL I can’t even…really?

For the record, I do download permissive files from as they are of high quality and sometimes will help me learn stuff - but I sculpt and model all my own content that I use, and I am a painter/texture artist and know a bit about down sampling image textures before posting anything for review unless it is inside the team I happen to be on.

Applying a license does not revoke ownership.

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I would say receiving consent is the cautious and legal way that business or other transactions are normally conducted, that you should definitely consult someone before using their assets if it is not explicitly clear they intended them for CC use. Do you want someone breaking into your house to use your forks and plates because you accidentally agreed your forks and plates are communal property when signing a receipt or a warranty? No, you want to control over your own belongings in your own home. I haven’t come across anyone who thinks that is unreasonable.
Conversely, you could donate a nice piece of furniture you have no use for because you bought new furniture or if you moved into a new home, or, that you crafted as a hobby purely for enjoyment, and you could even leave it on the curb for someone to pick up. That is an example of what someone would do when they are consciously forfeiting sole ownership, much different than the former example.


Separate file as example, period. Screen shots to show the problem. Don’t hand someone $100 if you can’t afford to let them keep and use it.