How to I protect my models from being stolen and sold by other people?

(LBJ) #1

How to I protect my models from being stolen and sold by other people?

Can I add a creative commons license or something?

(Felix Kütt) #2

While a CC license can lend you some legal protection it will not actually stop anybody from taking your models and selling them as their own, just lends you a slightly stronger legal position to do something about it via courts perhaps.

One thing you could do is bake your name into the textures of your models perhaps, but then that too can be ‘photoshopped’ out.

(cgCody) #3

I’ve had artwork stolen in the past. As a result, I’m extremely guarded on what, when, and where I share stuff. And when I do share something online, I take a few steps. I only share lossy versions of the higher fidelity originals. I sign them digitally. I also watermark them invisibly.

I suppose you could take similar steps with your models, but my question is; Why share your source material? Could it be for a certain thread requesting texturing help, perhaps? :wink:

You gotta be careful with stuff like that. A number of people have already downloaded your model and who knows where their moral compass points. Worse still, they could live in a country with lax/no copyright laws.

This is why I always cringe when I see other forum members demand .blend files in order to help (Which strangely only seems to be a thing in this community). There are tons of people here willing to help walk you through a problem without needing to open your work. In cases where you absolutely MUST upload your work, strip it down to just the bare essentials, and PM it to only the person offering to help. :slight_smile:

Sorry for the long rant on something that may seem trivial to some, but trust me, seeing your hard work in someone else’s portfolio SUCKS.

(-HENDRIX-) #4

All works of art are inherently copyrighted the moment you create them; preventing people from stealing them and enforcing that protection legally is a wholly different matter, though.

(burnin) #5

I chose Karma. Do good and good will do you.
So I don’t worry to care much about unwanted distribution anymore. Such things will always happen.
You want to prevent ppl from distributing your work? Either don’t share or grow out of “my precious” phase, share freely :wink:

(JA12) #6

A .blend does not equal anyone’s models or other assets. It should contain enough to reproduce the problem to actually find out what actually causes the problem, instead of randomly guessing and getting nowhere fast. It’s the same requirement as on the bug tracker.

(LBJ) #7

I’ve never actually sold a model before, so I don’t know anything about this, which is why I’m asking.

Someone on artstation sent me a private message asking if they could buy my model, which I posted screenshots of.

Here it is, how much should I ask for it?

It isn’t really spectacularly detailed, it’s just that there aren’t any other models of what it is on the internet that I know of.

(cgCody) #8

Pricing is hard to say. I mean, what is the value of your time that went into the work, and what are they willing to pay? Ask them to make an offer and accept or counter.

It goes without saying that it depends on the specific problem, but I have seen many instances where the request for a .blend would require the actual model/content. And as this isn’t the bug tracker or an official channel, it isn’t a “requirement” here, yet I have seen people actually chastised for not uploading a .blend, which is wrong, and counter to the professional courtesy afforded on most other related communities. And to be clear on my point; ASKING for a .blend is not wrong. Demanding/bullying people into it, is.

(kabu) #9

Can I ask you what software you use for signing / watermarking?
Can come in handy at times…

(JA12) #10

That’s correct, it’s not required by the community rules. It’s a requirement for effective troubleshooting, which is why devs won’t even lift a finger without one.

I have yet to see assets stolen from a support forum thread. Most asking for help can’t produce stuff of much value, and those who can really should know better. An example file is a communication tool when troubleshooting and it should be reduced, not mainly because the content may be stolen but for practical reasons, reducing file size and communicating more clearly.

I’d rather see the forum giving instructions and telling the difference between an example .blend for troubleshooting and a .blend for sharing assets. What can be included and what can’t. Preparing such a file is not rocket science.

Why? Because most asking don’t know how to ask questions correctly. That is understandable, but also requires people with the answers to first figure out what the problem is about, the context, and then maybe at some point get to the cause and how to fix it. An example .blend moves things along, makes troubleshooting more effective, answers more visual, and the millions of saved man hours could be used for something more productive.

(BeerBaron) #11

Ultimately, you can’t. It’s just data. If it goes through some untrusted pipeline (such as rendering with OpenGL/Direct3D) it can be ripped.

There are some DRM formats, mostly for CAD, but you should really ask yourself: How important are my models that people are willing to deal with DRM?

The people shopping on the marketplaces are expecting standard formats without DRM. Those can be trivially copied. You’ll just have to accept that.

So, the real question should be: How do I figure out somebody ripped me off so that I can enforce my copyright? Answer: By spending time and/or money auditing those marketplaces. You’ll have to make the call on whether that’s worth it.

First of all, you aren’t protecting yourself by not sharing source material. You’re just providing a worse product. A model where I can make minor adjustments is far more valuable than some baked-out pile of triangles. Most models you can get from marketplaces are not 100% of what anybody needs.

Well, you shouldn’t. Blender has a million tweaks and knobs, do expect people to engage in a long-winded interrogation on the state of the blend file? What a waste of time.

You’re being asked to post a blend that shows the problem, not your whole work. Just delete and disfigure anything that’s not relevant to the problem. If you can’t be bothered to do that, you shouldn’t ask for help.

(joseph raccoon) #12

There is like 10 million hours of copyright videos on youtube many of which are done by copyright lawyers…watch some!!

It is very hard to limit IP theft, just ask utorrent about that one, but much of what you can do is register your copyrights so that you later have OPTIONS! And find ways to document your work, such as Artstation, this way when idiot#004 steals your cutie racoon anime girl and ends up making tens of millions on it you will have an option to have a chance to see some of that.

(cgCody) #13

I know there’s fancy watermarking software out there that can track your content… But what I do is a little more basic. Haha I have an image that is sort of like a QR code that I use to displace the pixels by an imperceptible amount. A difference comparison to the original will reveal the code. I’m the only person with the original art, and code files. I’m lawyer, but I figure it can’t hurt.

@JA12, you’re still going on about this?

If you want to help folks, and you need a .blend file to do it, then that’s great for you, bud. I honestly really don’t care. But I made a pretty clear distinction on asking vs demanding/bullying, so what are we even arguing about? The merits of bullying? I can tell you that IS against the forum rules.

And your little essay is pretty condescending and presumptuous about our fellow community members that come here for support. Maybe you could tone that down a bit.

(cgCody) #14

Is there something about the distinction between asking and demanding that I’m not making clear?

And for the record, I help people from my phone daily. A .blend file does nothing for me. A few screenshots is much more helpful, and quicker in most contexts outside of bug troubleshooting. If someone needs a .blend file on a “how to” type question, it should be left for someone with a bit more experience.

(BeerBaron) #15

You said you cringe when somebody demands a blend file in order to help. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s something for something. If the demand is not met, there is no help.

Who cares? If I give support, I will demand a blend file. I will look at the file and figure out the issue on my on terms. I’m not giving free phone support. If you wanted to talk to me on the phone, I would demand money for it.

Your mode of operation is fine. My mode of operation is fine. Not everyone wants to steal your precious little models. Use your common sense.

(cgCody) #16

I made the distinction crystal clear several times, so I’m not going to sit here and play a childish game of semantics with you. Again. Another thread where you come in to argue just to argue. Go find a hobby…After you get your last digs in of course. I hope it’s really salty and makes you feel good inside. :slight_smile:

(BeerBaron) #17

Can you actually show me a single thread where people are bullying the thread poster into posting the original .blend file, presumably in order to steal it? I think you’re complaining about a problem on this forum that doesn’t actually exist.

(cgCody) #18

Dang. That wasn’t salty at all.
But no can do, buckaroo. I’m not going to spend my Sunday digging through threads for signs of injustice.

Of course, you’re expecting that answer though, so you can get that dig in. Well garsh darnit! Consider me dug. You win the internet today! :slight_smile:

(BeerBaron) #19

What a letdown.

(BeerBaron) #20

To be clear, let me explain further why I think this is bad advice:

First of all, I’m pretty sure there is an inverse correlation to the amount of skill somebody has and the willingness to personally walk you through the problem for free. Maybe there’s an exception with people like cgCody who presumably are compulsive altruists. I wouldn’t rely on them, they’re the exception.

Speaking for myself, if I’m going to help you, it’s quite likely that I don’t know the solution to the problem and I want to figure it out for myself. I’m not doing it just for you. If you post a .blend file publicly, I may download it and play around with it. If I can’t solve the problem, I’ll move on. I’m not even going to bother asking you to post the blend. You should just post it publicly, always, by default. Stripped down, complete, doesn’t matter.

Now do an estimate in your head: How many people are willing to personally walk you through everything, maybe because they like the “social part” of it? How many are just silent, casual observers who might chime in on occasion? (Which description fits you personally?) What’s the success rate of people posting blends without being prompted, vs. people just posting a picture or some text?

Then, weigh that against the worst case of your work actually getting stolen.