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3DMagix and IllusionMage, scam or open source leeches?

154

Ton Roosendaal comments on 3DMagix and IllusionMage, who blatantly rebrand and sell Blender and steal people's artwork.

Continue reading to learn how YOU can help!

Ton writes:

With the success of blender.org projects, and publishing all the exciting Blender releases, we're now being challenged by third parties who like to ride the waves and do business with Blender.

There's nothing wrong with that. In its very nature, GNU GPL is about freedom, the freedom not only to use and modify the sources, but also to distribute and resell our releases under another brand name.

Recently we received several concerned emails and forum postings from people who were worried about Blender resellers using especially Ebay to sell Blender.

How can YOU help?

A grass-roots solution is to push 3DMagix and IllusionMage from the top search results in Google, and replace them with a link to the article on Blender.org. This should warn people who are about to buy this 'product'.

To do so, we'll need as MANY well-formed incoming links on that page. Be sure to use the names 3DMagix and IllusionMage in the text part of the link. Here's a piece of code that you can use on your own website:

<a href="http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/press/re-branding-blender/">3DMagix, 3DMagixPro, IllusionMage, scam</a>

Here's mine: 3DMagix, IllusionMage, scam

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)

154 Comments

  1. what are those sites trying to do snatch blender's freedom? damn those sites and yeah i seriously agree with you bart everyone should be well informed about this.

  2. From the press release:

    "On their web pages they intentionally hide that the products are distributions of GNU GPL licensed software, and that the software is freely downloadable as well."

    This is not quite the case - both use the term " and Blender" (probably to boost search rank), and are really only selling "training material" (albeit under false premises as they're claiming a lot of content as being created with Blender when it wasn't). They also have in the fine print:

    "Note: GPL Compliant. Full Source & License Available in CD. Screenshots Licensed Under C.C 2.0" (3DMagix)

    and

    "Released Under GNU GPL. Source code available for download." (IllusionMage)

    Neither of which are true, of course. I wouldn't be surprised if the "training material" is stolen from someone else, too.

  3. @Alphax: the training material *is* stolen, it's just a load of stuff lifted from the 'Net (see the link I posted).

  4. What you mean "identified through PayPal"? It's not illegal what they are doing.

    What I don't get is why, instead of selling all the generated tutorials as "Blender's", they prefer to re-brand and make a page like those TV ad shows...

    So, by the way Bart, you say "steal people's artwork", but are you sure about that? I think they don't do that any more, after Ton told them they cannot use Blender's and claim they were made with IllusionMage. Mostly is their own, and Blender images are credited (and probably they asked for permission for those).

    Cheers!

    Le@ndro

  5. OK, I've just red Ton's new comments... my mistake, they sure are just plain thieves. Sad and lame thing.

    Cheers!

    Le@ndro

  6. @Le@ndro: Why? Because they're engaged in de-facto *fraud*. It's purposefully designed to mislead people into buying something they're not actually getting.

  7. Isn't there some way to push certain phrases to the top of the google dynamic search?

    IllusionMage is a scam
    or maybe
    IllusionMage is Blender
    Should also try it as Illusion Mage.

    You might notice these terms more prevalent around 8 or 9 pm EST.

  8. These sites are just over designed photoshop poop. Typical of Ap degree students who couldn't get into a real art school. Takes on to know one. :) The mixed quality should be suspicious by itself, but the typo "On your speakers" Should sound alarm bells to any rational person seeking training material online.

  9. SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM........
    dont wanna see someone copying blender and selling it.
    sue up those frauds

  10. There was something wrong with the quotation marks,
    making the href hyperlink not follow through on blogger.
    The quotations are italicized.

  11. sorry in advance im normally pretty positive in the replies but this has me outraged, but more toward blender itself.

    any net savvy person would look at that site and realize that it is a scam (i mean both sites look like they were made by the same person). but there is obviously a small percentage in the world that look the the first 3d suite they see and choose it, purely based on its website.

    this goes to show you how important the first page of a website is. if blender paid attention to this they would probably have a million more users at the click of a finger. i mean think about it. if you had never done any 3d before and you saw the 3dmagix site, you would still do a bit of research before considering it.... BUT if the 3dmagix had a dirty big open source download free button on it, you would click it without batting an eyelid.

    dont get me wrong i love blender and believe its the best open source product out there, but that doesnt meant that the best cant be better.

  12. I recognise some of them file names on there. modellingthefoot.wmv etc is a zombie tutorial someone did on the internet because i did them. Also those vf1.avi and vf2.avi and 3dview.avi are greybeards blender tutorials as i have done them as well, they are here http://www.ibiblio.org/bvidtute/

  13. Good solution, each one put a little crystal of salt, then leeches will go away. Let's dehydrated them!

  14. @ Paul: thanks for that.. it turns out that all the videos included in the package *are* from the site you linked to.

  15. I do not agree with Ton, these people are illegal. Surely the rents were not paid taxes on money taken. If you really want to bring the light of the sun, just a letter from a lawyer, they will never arrive in court, but disappear before.

  16. Kat,

    I followed your link and see they include my well outdated Blender Basics Book, 2nd edition.... Sad, sad day. I wonder what ground I have to make them remove it. I put in the copyright not to be packaged with a commercial product....

    BTW, I will be publishing a 4th edition book in the spring, maybe close to anofficial release of version 2.6:-)

  17. @kat love your site.

    Illusion Mage Complete SCAM!
    There is no justification.

    - the one video is funny "the interface was so simple to understand..."
    Nice Contact page Seth ... How exactly do I contact you?

  18. I just added the google-bombing link to my signature on some forums.

    Funny fact, "3D magix" on google give a lot of torrent or DDL results... Maybe we could add the keyword "free" to our bombing links.

  19. hey guys , if u want i can break down there servers to pieces im a programmer (let say a bad programmer), so if u dont like those 2 scams , just give me a sign and i'll make them old history , i like blender (i use it in my 3d work) so if they were to pick a fight with me , sure they will regret it , so everyone (just a sign , and i'll be here for you)

  20. Bart I'm glad when I can be helpful! I've silenced myself for joking around too much! :D
    All digital media is automatically copyrighted on creation,
    even links are said to be covered by the DMCA. I think it has to be registered within a
    certain period of time before a lawsuit can be filed, but definitely an artist has control to
    have them remove their material even without copyright registration.

  21. @ Jim: the only thing one could suggest is getting in touch with the hosting provider and seeing what can be done (should usually mean sending a DMCA through to them).

  22. hey guys , what if i used a bunch of computers (lets say zombies) all over the world to shut down there servers as a warning (haha it will be too late for a warning) , but they deserve it , such scam claim blender as their own soft (boku wa subete o horobusu zo) which means i'll crash them all , (i really can't take that ) , and like japanese say "zakennayo" ,any progoramer interested can join me , so anyone ?? ...

  23. "
    hey guys , what if i used a bunch of computers (lets say zombies) all over the world to shut down there servers as a warning (haha it will be too late for a warning) , but they deserve it , such scam claim blender as their own soft (boku wa subete o horobusu zo) which means i’ll crash them all , (i really can’t take that ) , and like japanese say “zakennayo” ,any progoramer interested can join me , so anyone ?? …
    "

    "
    DDoS everyone ?
    Maybe not the smartest move but one could argue “fight fire with fire”
    "

    Yeah... lets do something illegal, just because somebody else is being illegal... *sigh*

  24. well guys , first of all ,no one could actually buy a piece of soft that he never heard about before , in the other hand if its the opposite (i mean if he or she heard about blender ) well its clearn they will know that's its free , so i imagine no one will get tricked by those scam, what im sure of is that in my country no one would actually ever buy a piece of soft even if it is commercial(3dsmax or maya or ...) , we all use free soft(i mean cracked soft ), if its not free we make it free (i may sound rude but its the truth).

  25. @hacker well, that's up to you, if you feel that they deserve it, go ahead... i've got no problems with you doing so.

  26. ohh cool , but i really want to hear that from the manager like (Bart or Ton), its more official , this way i can earn some money (just kidding) :)

  27. this bastards don't know, why they steal people job, why!, where is the open spirit, if they are hungry please work hard but not resell people art and promise thinks that can be done in few seconds what a blame.

  28. I've been using blender for about a year now, and since then I have developed a profound sense of love and respect for the program and it's many artist. I looked at both of the websites and what I've seen has upset me a great deal. I understand that users are allowed to modify and resell blender under a another brand name, but from the looks of it they didn't change anything besides the name. What upset me the most though was that they used images right off the blender site and even works of art that were made by the blender community. I for one will do what I can to help spread the word about these sites in hopes to stop them from scamming people.

  29. I hope you're not serious about mounting a ddos attack or other illegal activities. I would never want such things to be associated with Blender or Blendernation.

  30. This is the first time I've ever heard about IM and 3DMagix. So much for being first on Google. I have to wonder if people really do buy the junk that's advertised (spammed). I guess if some fool wants to part with his/her money, it's none of my business. Of course, if I had the money to spend, I'd rather buy official Blender stuff! ;)

  31. For the record: I want nothing to do with DDos-ing these sites. Further references/calls for such activities will be removed.

  32. Hmmm. I type in "Blender" in a Google search, and neither one of these comes up on the first page.

  33. Um, I think I'm missing the point of all this rant. I looked at the two sites in question and besides the fact that the web site developer looks like he is stuck in the HTML 1.0 era of the WWW, they are clearly selling the training and not so much, the software. IllusionMage is less open about this than 3DMagixPro. Both sites identify the actual software as Blender; yes on the home page. IllusionMage has 5 references to Blender, while 3DMagixPro has 11 references. What's the difference between their approach and Ton's approach in "The Essential Blender" book (http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Blender-Guide-Creation-Source/dp/1593271662/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1296658059&sr=1-3)? This publication is a training guide which includes an edition of the software.

  34. ->bah : i think u r right about supporting blender in a good way , so that it stay always a good soft , but those scam made me crazy , they didn't even change the splash screen , what a bunch of losers , if they intend to sell blender they should at least modify or add new functionnalities to it , but they should do that on their own , not steel others work and pretend to own it, anyways i've got a nice idea , why dont we make a huge number of web sites and scatter them around , so that when someone googles for blender get a fast and a lot of hits

  35. Yes, you are missing the point ;o) Look up the word "obfuscation".

    I'm guessing you did a "word search" to find those references instead of looking at each site as you would a prospective purchaser, they're not easy to find references. So... Unlike the books, it's not obvious that you're simply buying Blender and *someone else's* material, that's 'hidden' behind the sell.

  36. Do some such on youtube or other website about 3Dmagix and IllusionMage to find many video.
    And make some comments about the truth. But many of them not allow comments or need approuval
    of the publisher before to be published.

  37. In addition to my previous post, the real question here would be: Does their training content contain plagiarisms from other training works published on Blender?

  38. @hacker: hey nice idea! i wish i cud join u but im a noob at hacking :P

    sorry cudn add that code on my blospot blog cos im not able to understant the html coding in it. i have no idea where the body begins. but ill tell a frnd to do that on his site.

  39. I am in no way defending the tactics of these sites but I have no sympathy for anyone who would actually give them money. As the saying goes: "A fool and his money will soon be parted!"

  40. Hi!

    {offtopic}
    Guys, stop foolin' around with the DDoS thing. It just throws a bad light on all the blender related websites and communities.
    {/offtopic}

    I also placed the link from above on the German videotutorial website "Blender Ei". Let's teach them a lesson - Copyright fraud is not welcome in our society :)

    Best wishes!

  41. Itq@n : its easy to put the code on your blog , just copy and paste it wherever you want to put a link on your blog , you know that a link looks always like this (here is the link to the_destination.html ) , instead of a simple link like this one , copy and paste that one above , and the job is done. if you need more help just ask.

  42. @ John: Come on dude.. read what's being said here, it's not "plagiarised" material, it *IS* other peoples *ACTUAL* work packaged up into a bundle and sold on (we're not just talking about a couple of websites). Instead of called people fools, it's easy to sit on your butt and do nothing, how about helping the community at large educate others on this one, hmm?. Things like this damage the Blender 'brand', which is just as valuable an asset as the software itself.

  43. Something strikes me in this : If they are "rebranding" blender, that is to say placing any logos, changing app name, they MUST have modified the source code, am I wrong ? If they did modifiy the source code then they are NOT complying with the GNU/GPL by not publishing the modified source code,. Maybe we could give the FSF a clue about these "buggers", I now they have very persuasive lawyers to handle that kind of situation.

    My 2 cents.

  44. We also need to complain to the organisations hosting those websites. Another target to complain to would be the companies they use for payment. They need to be informed they are soliciting money for an illegal purpose, which is illegal in a number of countries.

    If paypal can delete the acount for paying to Julian Assange, then they can delete the account for these criminals.

    I have noticed similar on Ebay selling Blender.

    There is literally hundreds of copies of Blender for sale on Ebay, using pictures from Blender users and blender books.

    We literally would need to complain to Ebay about all of these sellers.

    See:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Blender-3D-Animation-Software-GIFT-BOX-ITEM-/180585789295?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item2a0bc0776f

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Blender-3D-Graphics-Modelling-Design-Animation-Studio-/320651213765?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item4aa84d3bc5

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Blender-3D-Graphics-Design-Animation-Studio-Software-/180388068724?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item29fff77d74

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Blender-3D-Graphics-Design-Modelling-Animation-Studio-/220719207833?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item3363e3d599

    This one claims blender copyright
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-Studio-Animation-Software-Graphics-Design-Effects-/320645147509?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item4aa7f0ab75

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-Graphics-Design-Animation-Animators-Studio-Software-/330229046955?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item4ce32f5eab

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-ANIMATION-GRAPHIC-DESIGN-CARTOON-STUDIO-SOFTWARE-CD-/170596331504?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item27b8556ff0

    Blender sold as a bundle.
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-Graphics-CAD-and-Modelling-Software-PC-NEW-/250752550870?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item3a620447d6

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Professional-3D-GAMES-GRAPHICS-SOFTWARE-CD-New-Sealed-/380313160701?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item588c6e4bfd

    Someone claiming copyright of Blender
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-ANIMATION-RENDERING-GRAPHIC-DESIGN-CARTOON-SOFTWARE-/400190187008?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item5d2d31a600

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-ANIMATION-MODELING-GAME-DESIGN-DRAWING-CAD-SOFTWARE-/400090528672?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item5d2740fba0

    Molasoft using a picture from a belnder book on the cover of its software box.
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-GRAPHICS-ANIMATION-DESIGN-STUDIO-SOFTWARE-NEW-CD-/130336063438?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item1e58a27fce

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3D-Games-Graphic-Designing-PC-Software-/320650691882?pt=UK_Computing_Software_Software_SR&hash=item4aa845452a

  45. Lol, i see the video review from happy costumers,,, when the video end... "can i get my drug now??"... really, i dont think anyone fall in the scam, because is so badly made, even a kid in this day with all information become more clever in notice a fake site, and people who interest in 3d search in google, look page about what program are in the most used... more than a scam page, look like a joke... blender is well knowing arround the world, and will be more know avery time we get more fantastic add-ons and app... thanks for that ;) ... always.

  46. I haven't seen this article mentioned, so I'll just throw it into the ring:
    http://www.muktware.com/n/02/2011/735

    If we could only get more people (3D World, anyone?) to write articles on the scam factor here, we could raise a good bit of awareness. Hopefully we could scare this guy by getting legitimate sources to expose him....

  47. lets send them an e-mail stating: "were sorry. but you have illegally defrauded the open source software blender. prepare for the consequences."
    then make them the lowest link in the google search engines.

  48. Youngapprentice on

    THIS MAKES ME SO MAD! I feel so bad for the people who are getting scammed right now!

  49. And here I was thinking these folks had learned their lesson the first time. What a world we live in...

  50. bart of ton kan de politie hier wat aan doen of niet.
    dit is de 2de keer dat magix 3d brobeert om blender software te stelen.
    en zelfs die name magix 3d is gestolen.

  51. Wow

    They are registering other fake domains, posting youtube videos and making fake reviews with even some made up criticism to back up the credibility of their scam.

  52. There are two links that i would like you to visit but every time i try to post them here my post doesn't get through. So I'll tell you in a different way:

    Go to the site of 3dMagix and Illusionmage and click the affiliates link at the bottom of the page to see his affiliates program. It looks to me that he's not on his own when it comes to promoting "his" products. There have to be people who will fall for this.

  53. If these people are for sure violating the GPL as well as the various copyrights on the materials they include in their "product", then someone at the Blender Foundation should see if Google will remove them from the search results on those grounds. I know Google changes their algorithm constantly to combat fraud and other scams. Plus, they're big proponents of open-source, so maybe they'll be more likely to want to take up the cause.

  54. here's a question. what would you think if i posted the URL of ton's comment into the contacts box of the softwares website (under an URGENT priority)?

  55. Any address or contact info found is likely an alias, there are either a lot of individuals involved in this or 'he' has used fake names and details to register domains and purchase hosting (I doubt he's used fake credit card details to pay for everything though *cough*).

    Unfortunately, the only people that can actually do anything about this in terms of finding out who these people are happen to be and shutting the sites down are copyright holders - service providers (including Google) cannot give out any account information or shut down services except through their legal departments (usually) in instances like this. The only other thing to try is reporting it to various local Government Council trading standards bodies. And yes, there are a tonne of spam YouTube videos on this.

  56. We should all warn facebook pages that is a scam. I already marked taged them. We could do the same.

  57. @Thomas

    Read their disclaimer, which is hidden in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”.

  58. What they are doing is shameful and rightfully should be decried. On a different note. This shows the wider public are impressed enough by the quality to want to buy blender, indeed a compliment. If we really want to stop this scam we need to raise awareness that foss is available and of high quality, then people will not be duped.

  59. You need to make a real hateful video, cleverly done with why but this it free here type under tones then have as many people favorite and watch it as possible, When someone searches for either package it'll pop up with the video saying you're being robbed.

    Mike.

  60. @jiggles100

    That's an awesome idea. We should forward this to Ton and see what he would say about it.

    If we're going to defeat these scammers by not fighting fire with fire, we need to promote Blender at a more "explosive" level. And to readily provide everything a beginner needs more obviously.

  61. Or maybe he just stops doing that kind of things without having decided it...

    life is so complex... there are bad people everywere

    and maybe making angry so many people isn't a good idea... lot's of negative karma points

    He have done it for a time and probably will keep with it for a while

    But it could stop anytime

    maybe

  62. This is not meant to be read:

    3DMagix Review Test
    This is Blender. 3DMagix is a copy of Blender. Dont buy.

    IllusionMage Review Test
    IllusionMage is Blender. IllusionMage is scam. Don't buy.

    3DMagix IllusionMage Shop
    Cracked version copy serial

    3D Modelling User Community
    Gallery 3D Art Rating copyright free
    3DMagix is scam!

  63. It will also help if 3DMagix, 3DMagixPro, IllusionMage are made part url and are included in the pages title and h1 tag.

  64. The new_earth_software guy or another other blender seller is actually not doing anything illegal. There is nothing wrong reselling Blender or any other open source software. Just provide the source code in the distribution as per the GNU license agreement. GNU licenses ALLOW that. If you don't understand GPL licenses, do not post inaccurate claims as it makes us all look bad and un-informed.

  65. Didn't you guys notice the guy already using blendernation comments to his advantage.

    We lost the battle.

  66. I downloaded IllusionMage through bittorrent. He did completely rebrand of blender i.e. he changed the splashscreen, the name in the top titlebar and in the menus

    But he did leave the GNU GPL license

    For manuals he used the old Quickstart but changed the frontpage to

    IllusionMage
    Quick Start Guide
    (Also known as IllusionMage Blender)
    Modified 2009
    Manual was written for IllusionMage – Blender Modif.

    The complete User manual is James Chronister's bookand here again he changed the frontpage in

    IllusionMage
    Complete User Manual
    (Also known as IllusionMage Blender)
    Modified 2009 – James Chronister
    Manual was written for IllusionMage – Blender Modif.

    He didn't bother to replace Blender for IllusionMage in the rest of the texts

  67. A wise quote from someone in comments from another post: It’s really weird to see the reaction of some people on this thread. This is exactly the point of open source. The GNU license allows you to sell the software. FACT. Actually its encouraged. The more people benefit from the GNU software the more likely more people are to contribute back to it. FACT: You can resell any GPL/GNU product. Its 100% legal.

    Sure if you are computer savy and have the skills to find new open source / GNU / free software you can get it. But just because some guy is selling it why should you be bitter about that? If someone is stupid enough to pay for something that is free they will. But once they see that it could have been free they will learn and ‘hopefully’ find the next piece of software from somewhere else, benefiting another OS project. Everyone wins.

    Bottom line. It will always be open source, and because it is everyone can; within few rules; be able to do whatever they want with it. That is great don’t you think?

    Our efforts would be better spend concentrating on improving Blender, spreading the word of Blender instead of fighting/discussing open source sellers. It saps away our energy and doesn't serve any purpose. Even if you can shut one site down, another one will pop up because once again, reselling GNU software is legal and encouraged.

  68. Those sites suck so bad :D

    This might be legal but amoral -fact.
    They do steal money that could otherwise help further blender development.
    They try to steal recognition of original developers.