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Congratulations, Blend Swap!



Blend Swap just announced:

We just published our 10,000th Blend File!!!! This is so amazing. Thank you everyone for supporting us.

That's awesome guys, congratulations!!

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 ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

    Something needs to be discussed about Blendswap. I don’t know where is a better place to raise it, so I’ll raise it here.

    They have a peculiar attitude to what they call “fan art”. For example, look for any Lego-themed item, and you will see, when you try to download it, that they impose an extra condition on you that you will not use the item for any kind of commercial purpose. There are two problems with this:

    * Some of the items are licensed CC-BY-SA. By trying to impose additional restrictions, they are contravening the SA part of the licence.
    * They themselves are a commercial operation, making money off premium members who might be downloading these and other items. So they are trying to prohibit others from doing what they do themselves.

    What do others think?

    • I think they just want to legally protect themselves. Law these days is a mess. Try reading about MegaUpload, and also twitter pic of a typhoon(?) damages a year back?

      • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

        But by point 1, they are contravening the law.

        Also by point 2, they are contravening the law.

        So how are they legally protecting themselves?

    • It might be more complicated than it seems, if BlendSwap says it doesn't own those models but is simply giving away or "renting out" digital "spaces" for people to share "their" models in.

      I'm too curious as to what BlendSwap offically has to say about it, though. :)

      • Here is what Blendswap has to say on their FAQ page:

        "Why are there models marked as Fan Art?

        Fan Art is a very muddy zone when it comes to licensing it as Open Source, mainly because the designs are not your own. Apple computers, anime/cartoon characters, brands, logos and other copyrighted or trademarked material, is not sub-licensable under Open Source licenses and so we're forced to include a warning on the model page or switch the blend to an NC license to avoid trouble for you and Blend Swap.

        We strongly suggest you work on your own original designs and keep fan art to your self, but if you decide to share it on Blend Swap given that we can't know all possible copyrighted material out there and according to our Terms of Use, we have to remind you it's ultimately your responsibility if you violate someone else's copyright or trademark."

        Why do they impose extra conditions for non commercial use?

        "we have to exclude your Fan Art from commercial use for it to be eligible for Fair Use exemption, this, however does not warrant any type of Fair Use exclusion under US Law (and other parts of the world), so the copyright holder can still initiate a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

        This is why we implemented the Fan Art mark on the site, to let people know, that regardless of the license attached to the file, noone should EVER use the Fan Art marked works for commercial purposes."

        As to whether they are contravening the law by being a commercial operation:

        "If I buy an Associate Account, am I paying for the blends?

        No. You are paying for the extra server resources you use with your Associate Account including the extra bandwidth and the more expensive database requests you use when being an Associate. We also enhance your account, profile and site features.

        With a Free Account you can always download all the blends from the site for free, if you wait long enough."


        • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

          Like I said, trying to impose additional restrictions on work licensed CC-BY-SA contravenes the SA part of the licence.

          And Blendswap is still a commercial operation, with paying customers, regardless of what the customers think they’re paying for.

    • 1) The "SA" stands for "Share-Alike" and that part of the CC-BY-SA license states: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

      The issue doesn't lie there. The real issue lies in the terms of the license:

      You are free to:

      Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

      Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

      for any purpose, even commercially.

      Authors of content that's classified as "fan art" need to choose the better CC BY-NC-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). I think what happens, though, is that people may properly submit their work that deals with a commercial brand as "Fan Art" but misunderstand the licences.

      2) BlendSwap makes some money from the site from some people paying for a premium membership to allow for greater downloads. That's at all not making money off of the Fan Art models themselves. No one's paying for the models. They're paying for a bigger limit for downloading free 3D models.

      Selling someone a premium for downloading more free downloads is not selling them 3D models, nor is it making money from the 3D models. You're trying to claim that they make money from models that other people make money from, and that's false.

      By the way, the number of people who actually pay for the premium service are, comparatively, very little. But even the relatively little money they may make is needed to help keep the free users' accounts free, as well as help make up-keeping the site worth the precious time for the guys who manage and maintain it. But I bet they barely even make enough to break even.

  2. I'm just so glad that there is now a reliable place to go to for models, after all the other feeble attempts. Let's just enjoy this wonderful facility and help it succeed, rather than looking for problems. If you don't feel safe using a downloaded model for commercial purposes, don't.

    • Personally, I have no interest in facebook, and I don't see why Google should know about my visits to BlendSwap, so the separate login method is ideal for me.

    • Agreed.

      Also the fact that you have to pay to do any kind of sorting with your searches. Feels a bit non-blender to me, especially where all the content is user-supplied.

      I realize they have to have a way to sustain the maintenance of the website. But I also think everyone should at least be able to create a search that limits whether a rig was made for 2.49 or 2.6x. They have that information, but restrict it to paying customers.

      • Jonathan Acosta on

        Hi Ben, unfortunately this is wrong, We do provide advanced searches for everybody since version 5.2 was launched a week ago. Please try it out and let me know if you have troubles using it :) We have not updated the feature list because this weeks been pretty hectic around the site, and we have to get some time to work on documentation updates.

  3. Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

    Your argument seems a bit muddled: you try to argue that my points don’t apply to some items (so what), and that Blendswap isn’t making much money anyway (again, so what).

    Authors of content are free to choose whatever licence they want. NC and ND restrictions make for non-Free licences that make it hard to share.

    As for copying other people’s ideas, I thought you couldn’t copyright an idea, only an expression of the idea.

    • Jonathan Acosta on

      Hi Lawrence, we'd be delighted to have this conversation over email and get things corrected, I see your point and I'm sure something can be worked out. The fan art marking was implemented when we realised that actually TONS of fan art was hosted on the site, and it was our response to the facts then and now. We've ben thinking about this in the past and this conversation has brought the issue back to our attention which I'd like to thank you for.

      Again, I totally get your point and I guess that disabling limits for fan art would make sense, but then we could confront a bandwidth surge that may take us down.

      I'd also like to insist on one fact, which Matthew has said in multiple times in the past in other conversations about the site, which is that we don't sell the user's models, we sell our server resources, not because we're greede bastards but because they are limited, We'd need an scalable infraestructure that we could not afford in order to have the site being 100% unlimited to every body, we wish we could do that but the fact is that our server and costs are too high, so that's why the limit is in place. We talked about this with our users and community back in 2011 when we first hit the roof of what our hosting provider would give us.

      One thing is for sure, when hosting providers say "Unlimited Bandwidth", it's bullshit; for real.

      Anyway, I really thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, let's talk it over email and see what soutions we can come up with. Cheers!

      • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

        Can I point out, for comparison, that a site like deviantArt has tons of fan art on it, yet they don’t seem to impose restrictions on artists trying to sell works connected with that, versus other works.

        • The simplest answer for that, Lawrence, is that it depends on the circumstance. Technically, it is illegal to sell copyrighted work commercially without permission, but it's often overlooked by companies that do it, depending on the circumstance.

          There's a bit of a grey area on that issue, because generally how most places operate is that they comply with takedown notices from companies, though many companies don't exercise that right if they think it'll bring them promotion.

          While certainly not all, many companies generally don't sweat someone, say, selling a fan T-shirt of their animé character, done in a caricatured style, or someone selling 3D models of an iPhone 5 for their vendor advertisement. People technically are required permission, but in a technical way, if a company knows about the usage and chooses not to takedown, they're allowing it.

          Companies have the option to request a takedown, but many choose not to do so, and some even been known to turn a blind eye, if they think it'll be free promotion for them. As lawsuit-happy that Apple is, they've yet to file a single lawsuit against vendors distributing 3D models of their iPhones.

          It's generally only when the issue starts becoming more of a prominence with mass-market appeal do companies generally take legal action. If DBZ fan shirts start selling with prominence against the official shirts, then Funimation and Toei will probably use their right to takedown request.

          But if a fan-made t-shirt promotes Mickey Mouse or Peter Griffith to a small group of buyers, or any advertisement agency wants to use a 3D model of iPhone to promote sells of iPhone, generally, companies let it happen. Sometimes, they'll even promote it.

          Nintendo, for instance, didn't shut down "Let's Play" videos of Nintendo games on YouTube, which are technically illegal, esp. since most people are using emulators and often times generated revenue from ads.

          But instead, they okay'd the videos, with the agreement that they let Nintendo run their ads on the videos. This not only gave them an audience for promotion, made them more favorable among the audience. Again, by a technical legal sense, Nintendo has every right to take them down, but instead, they use it for promotion.

          So technically, it is illegal to make money off of selling copyrighted materials without permission. But you shouldn't compare what BlendSwap does with what deviantArt does. It simply doesn't matter that dA doesn't seem to impose restrictions on artists trying to sell works connected with that, versus other works.

          BlendSwap isn't selling or even allows the sales of copyrighted materials. What BlendSwap does with 3D models is allowed under the Fair Use Act, which allows people post their models for the purpose of learning and analysis.

          An essential part of even sharing these models is to allow for an open-source look at them, to let people learn from them and break them down, at a community level. It's for the valid exceptions of analysis, research, and teaching. These are is not an infringement of copyright. They're not profiting for it--they're learning from it. Because they specify as much that these aren't to be used commercially, BlendSwap is a valid case of the Fair Use Act.

          What you're confusing here again is the fact that BlendSwap sells a premium service for the site, which allows for greater access to content that's already free--that's not at all the same as selling the copyrighted material. Technically, anyone can make a 3D model of a Mercedes-Benz and post it on BlendSwap, to simply allow other users to learn from the 3D models (as is usually the case anyways).

          That's the Fair Use act, and, as long as they're not profiting from these models or promoting them for business, they're fine.

          But deviantArt themselves get a piece of everything sold on deviantArt. BlendSwap doesn't get a dime from any model you use, even original models where it's perfectly okay to use them commercially. They're only selling greater bandwidth and extra account features. They are not a 3D model vendor.

          They do have an agreement that such "fan art" models aren't to be used for any commercial use, which should be fine. Again, the only conflict here, really, is the license sometimes chosen. People should be using the CC BY-NC-SA license instead of the CC BY-SA license.

          But there are some allowances of reproduced instances of copyrighted or trademarked materials for freely non-commercial distribution, since it's done for educational purposes and not in any way promoted commercially.

          Unless expressed oddly-specifically by the company that their brand isn't to be used in any sense, there's no law against someone producing the likes of a trademarked BMW car model and sharing it with others non-commercially, particularly for the fair-use act of learning and analysis purposes. You just can't use the stuff for commercial or promotional purposes without permission, that's all.

  4. AWESOME!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!! The Site is fantastic and everyone, both administrators and fellow blender artists are friendly and talented. I have and will continue to enjoy participating on the site. Congratulations to everyone.

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