2012-09-20

Occupy Thingiverse?

When I woke up, my RSS reader showed some "occupy thingiverse" things posted on Thingiverse.
I'm still trying to figure out all that happened while I was sleeping.

The timeline seems to look like this:
(As the list becomes longer, I'm starting to highlights the latest entries for the benefit or readers returning.)
  1. July 2010 - RepRap blog posting about the heated conveyor belt
  2. August 2011 - Makerbot Industries receives $10M venture capital funding. Applied for patent on heated conveyor belt.
  3. November 2011 - Makerbot Industries filed for a patent on a heated conveyor belt.
  4. February 2012 - New TOS of Thingiverse
  5. Thingiverse blog post about the TOS. Only one commenter "madscifi" asked about the 3.2 attribution clause but wasn't answered.
  6. July 2012 - Makerbot gets the patent. Their own design is highly flawed and no longer included in the next 2 generations
  7. September 2012 - Replicator II announced as a closed source design. 
  8. September 2012 - Blog posting about the Replicator II being closed source, later added TOS change by Josef Prusa (Twitter)
  9. Included ".thing" file format turns out to be just a .zip of multiple .stl and .obj files to be printed.
  10. "Occupy Thingiverse Test cube" posted on Thingiverse, more attention to TOS
  11. Josef Prusa Google+ posting
  12. Tony Buser (Makerbot Industries) posting on Google+ that the TOS didn't chance in 8 month. 
  13. Thingiverse blog post, clarifying that the TOS change was in february 
  14. First thoughts about developing an alternative to Thingiverse. (0,1,2,3,4,5,brainstorming,cubehero,githubiverse,Thingiverse2Github converter, SKDB)
  15. More "occupy Thingiverse" objects popping up all the time.
  16. The story got slashdottet
  17. Blog posting by Makerbot Industries- They are "working out" just how open source they can make the Replicator II, lots about their intentions, no clear work about the specific TOS sentence.
  18. As a response the blog post by Josef Prusa gets updated. 
  19. Thingiverse replacement taking some shape in the comments of a G+ posting. Who wants to contribute? Alternatives are seldomly a bad thing.
  20. Reaction of Hoeken (RRRF and formerly MBI) 
  21. Hackaday posting about it 
  22. It looks like at least the software is just a thin, closed source UI that calls open source Skeinforge or their new (open source) "Miracle-Grue".
  23. This blog entry is on Hacker News and visitor numbers explode. I'm trying to stay more non-POV here.
  24. Looks like the new closed-source software can be tricked into working with older MBI printer. 
  25. New phrase coined "Makerbotgate". 
  26. Adrien Bowyers (RepRap) views on open and closed source printers
  27. We hit 13'000 visitors on this blog posting 
  28. Make Magazine blogs about the Closed Source issue for the second time
  29. Some interesting posts by Openalia
  30. CNET interviewed Josef Prusa, waiting for response from MBI before publishing.
  31. New Blog post from Makerbot Industries 
  32. Blog post of Josef Prusa gets updated
  33. So does Openalia
  34. MBI goes to explaining the TOS  crossposed in the Thingiverse blog 
  35. CNET interview with Josef Prusa, quoting Zach "Hoeken" Smith now online 
  36. Make magazine inverviews key players about this issue 
  37. Bre Pettis talk "Challenges of Open Source Consumer Products" on the Open Hardware Summit is recorded on ustream (session 3 at 1:20) Josef Prusa is in session 2 at 1:28 . 
  38. Make magazine has a transcrips of the Bre Pettis talk. 
  39. We hit the 15'000 reader mark while I was on vacation.
  40. ...
So it seems that:
Makerbot Industries, owner of Thingiverse updated their TOS.

Previously they had a paragraph
"Thingiverse.com does not claim ownership of the materials you post, upload, input or submit to the Thingiverse.com site."
The current TOS states a lot of granted rights but they are all limited to
"solely for the purposes of including your User Content in the Site and Services".
Seems fine to me.

What is interesting is the next sentence:
" You agree to irrevocably waive (and cause to be  waived) any claims and assertions of moral rights or attribution with respect to your User Content."
I can't find a reason for this one in the february blog posting about the TOS.
The recent blog posting reassures us that attribution is done. In the latest blog post by their lawyer the moral rights part is explained as being able to create conflicts with the chosen Creative Commons license and the license given for the specific purpose of hosting the design on Thingiverse at all.

Of cause being legal language of a foreign jusisdiction and one based on common law (wich is still a very strange concept to me), I may misunderstand this part.
It seems that moral rights in the US are separate from copyright and thus not affected by Creative Commons. However why whould you waive any but the "right to the integrity of the work"? Why the moral right of attribution, of anonymous and pseudonymous publication?
Can you even do that if you are not the only author?
  • Can a person from a country such as German where waiving your moral right or attribution is by law impossible even use Thingiverse? (I think yes but I'm no lawyer.)
  • "Thingiverse ... and services" can include any future service. (But that is nothing to deal with now.) “ - "Company provides a service for users to share digital designs that can be printed on 3D printers to create physical objects”
  • How do the two licenses granted in the TOS work out if you are not the (only) author?
It didn't get much attention back then.  Due to the next thing it did get a lot of attention now:

The second thing that happened is that a "Replicator II" was announced and that it was widely seen as closed source.
I'm fine with it being closed source. (As long as they finally start to behave like it's a product that has support and warrenty and is supposed to work and if it doesn't work reliably it gets repaired, recalled, refunded or reimbursed.)
I'm not fine if they used designs that where published with Creative Commons Share-Alike or Attribution (or plain GPL) because none of these two seem to happen. Inheriting from the "Replicator" and thus from "Thing-o-Matic", "Cupcake" and lots of Reprap related designs this is very likely however no such violation is found as of yet (no one has a Replicator II yet) and there is only a very vague reaction about this part from Makerbot Industries.
The latest MBI blog posting states that they are working out "how open source" they can make it.
After that I got a statement that the software  is just one thin, closed source GUI. Also the new .thing file format is not only just a renamed .zip containing standard STL and OBJ files but also some JSON about the placement of these objects in the build volume. A libthing for using it will probably be published.
No word about design files of the hardware.

We'll have to see what parts and how much of the hardware will be in the open source and what exactly the license will be. The software part has now been answered.

It is very interesting to follow the different reactions and strands of discussions popping up and causing wider and wider ripple on the internet.


This posting is being updated as the events unfold.
If you find errors or inaccuracies in this posting, please contact me.
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