My Design Has Been Cloned (Edit: We worked it out 😁)

Hello everyone, I have a dilemma on my hands. I recently noticed this model on the MW trending page: Hexagon Twist Fidget by Zammer 3D - MakerWorld

I was immediately suspicious because I have designed several variations of my Hexagon Superfidget that all predate Zammer 3D’s upload:

  1. Giant Hexagon Fidget by LinkDesigns - MakerWorld
  2. Hexagon Superfidget - 35 segment PIP design by LinkDesigns - MakerWorld
  3. Hexagon Superfidget V2 - 45 Segment PIP Design Remixed by LinkDesigns - MakerWorld

I investigated Zammer’s model and found that it is not one of my files that was just reuploaded, but an extremely similar redesign with slightly different geometry. The following comment thread explains the situation well:

I respectfully asked him to remove the model but have not received a response. He seems to have ignored me since he has replied to every recent comment except mine.

His upload makes no mention of my designs or any possible inspiration from them. Additionally, the description contains a very reasonable request for users to respect his license placed on the design and remix only if a substantial change is made and credit is given to the original designer. I completely agree with that request, but it’s ironic that this was in the description under a copied design.

The spirit of the 3D printing community is to inspire creativity and for designers to build and improve on each other’s ideas, not duplicate what already exists.

Well since neither of you actually created the design, and you said yourself it’s not a direct copy/paste. Neither of you have any claim to it nor should either of you be credited with it. This would also stand to reason as why they are so similar, you may have both copied the same source idea.

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It sure is a dilemma, for the complete 3D printing ecosystem.

A which point does ownership of idea happen.

Clearly idea is copy/same. Non want to see 100s of same design posted. but if ownership can’t claimed do both go… who decides which. very hard choice.

Does this count as same, same with less segments/different number?

To be honest i have no answer to any of this so glad I’m not one judging it.

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This type of design looks really common. I think he got the inspiration from the same place as you, and used the hexagon too. It is not hard for it to be a coincidence.

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Firstly, it’s commendable that you’re discussing this matter with such respect.

From my perspective, neither party has an original idea. While I haven’t examined other platforms, this fidget toy concept has been around for a long time, as shown here: Fidget Flower by BODY3D - MakerWorld.

Replicating this toy as a hexagon, pentagon, circle, or any basic shape doesn’t make it original in my opinion. The fidget toy market is saturated with clones, making it nearly impossible to determine who came up with an idea first.

Regarding Makerworld’s stance on clones, it is inconsistent and undefined. From what I understand, copying or stealing an idea isn’t illegal unless there’s a patent or similar protection. Without clear platform rules, it might be morally wrong, but it is technically allowed.

I think it’s comparable to photography. A photograph is protected by copyright, but that doesn’t prevent someone else from taking the same photo, even if it is identical to the original.

To clarify, I’m not advocating for copying or stealing ideas. However, it’s inevitable that it happens.

In short, I don’t believe you have the right to demand that he take down the model.

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The idea has been around and on thingiverse at least since 2021.

Not meaning to discourage or disparage anyone - the 3d print scene is made powerful by us all building on top of each other. Just showing it’s been around longer than these models.

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Thank you all for your feedback. @TheBreadman and @moonrakerone I agree that neither of us had the original idea of a multi segment twisting fidget concept. My goal with the hexagon fidgets was to expand on that concept and make something comically large and fun to play with; different from what already existed.

@Uhl Very good points. After thinking about it more, you’re right that I shouldn’t ask for the model to be removed. Zammer 3D did design it himself and deserves the rewards for his efforts.

That being said, it is uncanny how similar the designs are, and there is no clear way to sort this out since it’s techincally allowed. I’m willing to let the situation go to avoid conflict, but I guess the takeway is that us designers should do a quick search before creating an idea that might already exist.

Thank you all again for the input. It seems I got ahead of myself a little there. @Zammer3D No hard feelings man, I hope we can work this out!

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Like putting the face of The Rock on everything? :thinking: :rofl: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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copying or stealing an idea isn’t illegal unless there’s a patent or similar protection

Correct. Ideas cannot be copyrighted. Patents are possible, but there is no reasonable expectation that two people won’t have the same idea.

I believe you are mistaken here. Patents, trademarks, copyrights all protect intellectual property. There is no protection for the ideas themselves but rather the expression of the ideas. Copying or stealing is referred to as “infringement” and you can be liable for an accounting of profits, injunctive relief or punitive damages. There is an exception for “independent creation” but this only applies to copyright.

This is something that regularly happens when a first original idea get attention and many try to replicate it in different shapes or just “better”, a recent striking example are the spiral cone fidget like those:

And there are plenty more…

There is no protection for the ideas themselves but rather the expression of the ideas.

I knew I was writing too quickly… but yeah, that is essentially what I meant. If I have an idea for a plot for a novel, I can’t copyright that idea, but if I actually write the novel, I can copyright the words I write. But a result of that is that someone else can use the same idea as long as they don’t use my words or any other way I’ve published the idea (writing, art, audio).

If someone designs a 3d model of a fidget, I can design one too. But I can’t use their model file (unless given permission) or the video they used to promote theirs, or the instructional text they wrote for it. The idea of a fidget isn’t copyrightable. A specific fidget design might be patented, but that is a temporary protection. (Let’s not even talk about trademark today.)

This is a really simple way of putting it, though. Of course it’s more complicated than this. For example, an object like a coaster that can’t be copyrighted as an object might have art on it that IS copyrighted or trademarked. (Say… a Pokemon. Or post-Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse.) None of this stuff is actually simple.

What I meant by “there is no reasonable expectation that two people won’t have the same idea” was not a legal concept but instead that I believe it’s not really reasonable, as a creator, to expect that no one else will have the same ideas I do. It is completely possible to independently create things and I usually prefer to assume the best from people.

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I think you both need to upload the template as a remix of the thingiverse one. This should be the correct practice.

I don’t agree that they are a renmix.

  1. Remix is more using someone else’s model (not idea) and would be stealing if they have not given permission.
  2. If above was not true, making next bit mute. As pointed out already, there no is idea where the idea came from. (thingiverse one was just random one i found)

Totally agree especially when it comes to mechanical dimensionally constrained creations rather than artistic creations a mechanical example (aero planes) .
I very seldom visit sites such as thingiverse or makerworld other than for something artistic to print as a gift for birthdays.

I prefer to have my own interpretation of all my mechanical creations of which I have many and mainly to do with drones. I never post my creations on sites as it’s not worth the pain of seeing your creations reverse engineered and sold somewhere.

Example to do with my Mini 4 Pro, on it’s maiden flight and after putting it away in it’s box, I got home and found I couldn’t extract the battery without having to unbuckle and straighten the legs. The engineer part of me saw a problem and I immediately saw the solution in my mind.

I checked and dimensioned the most causal point of the design which is pressing the release Tab with the legs closed, this dimension is written in stone, everyone that wants to create a tool will end up with the same mechanical configuration and dimensions.

Weeks later I decided to get on and design the Mini 4 battery extractor but feeling a bit lazy I for once decided to see if anyone else has created one, and sure enough there was one.

I downloaded it, printed it and didn’t like how it had a slight snug while withdrawing the battery, I also found it awkward to pinch it and pull at the same time “getting old”.

I’m happy with my design now after 3 iterations but if it’s put side by side with others they all may look similar with only slight differences in dimensions.

My point is I had the very same idea well before seeing the exact same thing elsewhere, my satisfaction is having the idea and creating it in the real world.

Example, mounting a Mini 4 on a tripod to film in the garden…

Apologies for going on a bit… :flushed:

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Thank you to everyone in this thread for keeping your responses calm and civil during this discussion.

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I’ve had a few times working on designs or ideas, then see someone release that same thing on Makerworld, completely independent of me. I’ve released designs before too then like a week later find someone else’s very similar thing that pre-dates me, and like well shoot.

I try to be passive because of all of that. There’s so many people out there, people with 3d printers now, with access to free cad software. We’re bound to bump into each other. Especially in environments like this, where there’s a higher concentration of people designing, and inevitably we’re getting inspired by each other too. In the past couple of years especially there’s been such an explosion of contributions to the world of 3d printing, of models that people offer.

The ideas aren’t always original, but the expression of those ideas can be fresh and what sets us apart. I think about this when I approach ideas that are common enough. If I’m going to do this, how can I make this an expression of myself? What can I bring to the table of this idea.

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I am replying to @Josh-3D, but, this is for the audience with the subject only related to him.

Back before I was on the forum, I used to look at every single model uploaded each and every day.

I would see ones that were clearly copies of others I had seen before. I would report them with evidence to MW, I would then inform the designer and recommend they do the same. I have shared this elsewhere here, nothing new.

Back in February, I spotted a model I recognised that look strikingly similar to one that Josh designed. I had printed both versions of the model Josh had made on my A1 mini and added profiles to his models as there was no A1 mini support for them.

I held back on reporting as it wasn’t a 100% clone, more 99%. I contacted Josh, he had no idea how brilliant I am. He responded back that he thought they had both been inspired by the same source so he didn’t consider the other one to be a copy.

The reason I mention this is Josh saw something others wouldn’t and treated it accordingly. I would have reported it if it was mine, he felt they both had merit.

He lives up to his words.

That said, if anyone thinks he is fair game, you better remember my success rate of having models, points and lives removed.

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My experience may cut a little closer to the bone. I have a niece going to college and I though a light box of the school mascot would make a nice gift for her. I checked on MW and found a nice design but the creator hadn’t included a number of features I now include in all my light boxes - printed in reflectors and a diffusor behind the design that really adds strength.

So instead of printing their design, I made my own with those modifications and a few others, but the two designs look nearly identical. I even mentioned the other design in my description with a link because I copied the way he formed his base. It was a nice touch.

So did I copy the other person’s design? To an extent, yes. Did I download it? Nope. But I did throw it a like? Absolutely.

I don’t think what I did was bad or theft. I gave credit. I thought this was about sharing and improving.

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This sounds like you handled the situation perfectly.