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Games Workshop submits DMCA takedown notices to Thingiverse
Not wanting a legal battle, Thingiverse is complying to the takedown requests. All the models featured in my article last week are now unavailable on Thingiverse.
5th December DMCA Served (roughly)
After my article on the 3rd of December, I was rereading it as I like to live past glories.
I clicked on one of the models to check a fact and lo and behold – the model was no longer available and a DMCA takedown notice like this one was present:
(Thank god I put the Lawyer Up note on the original article)
Info on the DMCA here.
No Reply from Games Workshop (until 22/12/11)
I emailed Games workshop on the 11th of December for their side of the story, but as of today, the 16th of December I have received no reply.
In the email I asked for a copy of the notice and what points of the DMCA Act, Thingiverse has allegedly breached.
Games workshop replied today (22nd Dec) with the following:
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I am unable to respond to your request for information. If you require advice or information in respect of copyright law, I would suggest you contact an independent legal advisor.
Catherine ….. <name removed by 3dfuture for privacy>
Games Workshop Group plc
The Users of Thingiverse Retaliated
A few hours after the takedown notice was put on the site, other users had uploaded the models to a file download site with the catch phrase “Here you go guys”.
Thingiverse was on to this however and they removed the link very very quickly. The files are probably there on the file download site if you know the link.
The original model is on Google Sketchup – no DMCA to Google (yet)
The funniest/saddest thing about this whole incident is the motive behind Games Workshop.
Obviously they have a right to protect their IP, however, if they were serious about it surely their lawyers would have done even cursory research, like, I dunno – reading the description of the Dreadnaught post where the uploader clearly states:
This is a Warhammer 40k Dreadnought.
It was downloaded from the google sketchup gallery and heavy modified to get it printable.
Here is a screen shot for eternity.
So the model used was here: 40k Dreadnaught on Sketchup – and as of publication of this article the model is still available for any one to download.
Surely there are many more people viewing the model via Sketchup, than folks in the niche 3D Printing industry viewing a model on Thingiverse?
Incompetent or not Enough Resources?
So this leads me to think, either:
- Whomever searches the Net and finds these models ready for preparation of a DMCA notice is either incompent and can’t follow and obvious link, or
- Does not have enough resources.
In either case my question is “Why hasn’t Google been served with a DMCA take notice for the Sketch Up model?”
I will leave this as a question for my dear readers to ponder.
Postscript 3DYeti (creater of the two tanks but not the Dreadnaught) replies
After seeing my article 3DYeti replied:
I was notified by Thingiverse that the DMCA takedown had happened. It was automatic after GW made the claim. The models are mine. I created them from scratch. I believe the issue was with the distribution of the files that carry the likeness of their IP. They are obligated to protect their IP, but no money was trading hands. This was “fan-art”. There was no confusion as to what it was. It was labeled as unlicensed, and unofficial. I uploaded it under a non-commercial license.
Things will change once this becomes more common. There are a few Star Wars models on thingiverse as well as items from other IP. The world is changing, and the law will have to move with it. It will be interseting to see which way it swings.
I do not have the means to fight the DMCA. I do not believe I did anything wrong, legal or otherwise.
It may have been that the likeness, in conjunction with using their actual names, caused GW to send the DMCA. I thought as long as I labeled it as unofficial/unlicensed, it wouldn’t matter. I was not looking to sell knockoffs. This was just a project I shared. I’m 100% positive if I had the resources and time I could overturn the DMCA. I read GW’s legal page and found nothing that points to any legal error on my part. As far as I know, what I did was not illegal. GW is just using their weight to keep their IP in check.
A turning point will come, but right now it is a legal grey area.
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