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floatingwoods

CAD data and CAD formats. Copyrights?

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Hello, I developed an application that I intend to sell in not too far future. The application does several types of simulations in a 3D world. I integrated into the application a DXF, OBJ, 3DS, STL importer/exporter. My two questions are: If I wrote the importers/exporters myself, do I go against any copyrights or patents in selling my application? A somewhat related question is: there are several websites out there that allow downloading CAD models for free (e.g. 3Dcafe.com). If I created a scene with my application that contains such a model, I guess that I am not allowed to sell the scene (the scene is however saved under my own fileformat --> only readable with my application), but am I allowed to distribute it for free? (the scene). Would that go against any copyright?

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Those data formats themselves are purely functional, and the few protections associated with them have been released to the public by their creators. You can use them. Importers and exporters for those formats are widely available, so I'm not sure why you'd want to write your own. But that's your own choice, I suppose.

So the answer to question one: No problem.




Every scene or model is a creative work, and protected by copyright and other IP laws. It is your responsibility to ensure you have permission from the owner of those rights. Simply shifting the data from one format to another does not change those rights. Including the model in your own scene can make yours a derivative work --- so if it ever went to court a judge could rule that they (and not you) own the new combined scene.

For question two: You must get permission before doing it. Pulling it down from a web site has some risk associated, even for royalty-free assets. It is still your responsibility to document the source, and be able to demonstrate that you have permission to use it.

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Thank you frob for the clarifications. About question 2 that's what I thought.
Would anyone know of a good and cheap source of 3D models, that I later could also distribute freely? I am not against paying for CAD models, but I know that in case of images the fees can sometimes be quite exagerated, and I am not sure I could afford these!

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Quote:
Original post by floatingwoods
Thank you frob for the clarifications. About question 2 that's what I thought.
Would anyone know of a good and cheap source of 3D models, that I later could also distribute freely? I am not against paying for CAD models, but I know that in case of images the fees can sometimes be quite exagerated, and I am not sure I could afford these!

Search the web for royalty-free artwork and models. There are many good sources out there.

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