Creative Commons

Hey everyone,

I was thinking we should have a topic for Creative Commons(CC). Here is the site that explains each of the licenses that you can publish your designs or how to credit people/ what you are legally allowed to do with other peoples designs that are published with each of the different CC licenses.

Click on the view license Deed below each Of them to see a human readable version of the license. Many sites that list designs will often have a little icon for which CC they use so it is good to know how you can use them without ripping off all the hard work the designers spent designing it.

@dan I know the catalogue is early days but I was wondering what if any thought has been given to CC for posted designs? Will you allow users to sell there designs with a CC picked by user or will you require a specific one or a GF custom license for use. Same goes for free designs if you make them officially available through a catalogue now or in the future.

If anyone has any thoughts, experience or questions on CC post them here.

If the GF marketplace doesn’t suit your needs there are always repos like Thingiverse where you can publish your designs for free download under various CC (and other) licenses.

Haven’t figured out licensing yet.

We have discussed intellectual property rights before in various places. We are still waiting for how the catalog will work with licensing. All in all the forum members are getting along well. We have been discussing how nice the community is and that we are pretty helpful and are sharing a lot. I want to respect all the artists and designers who have shared so much and I pledge never to rip off any designs or misuse that trust in any way. It might be good if we did our best to cultivate an ethic of trust and responsibility regarding the work everyone shares on the forum. The Thingiverse dustup from a few months ago is well described in this YouTube. The issue was touched upon in the Lasercut snowflake topic.

Is this an issue we need to discuss more? Can anyone share any more horror stories of getting their work stolen or misused?


Thank you so much for saying this! This comment really struck me, and I bookmarked the thread because of it. This is something that I deal with on an all too frequent basis, so as silly as it may sound, it did my heart good to read that there are people who strive to be thoughtful and honorable in this regard.

Unfortunately, I have many horror stories of getting my work stolen or misused. For the sake of brevity (not to mention my sanity) I won’t rehash them all, but I’ll offer a few examples:

One of the strangest was when another beadworker copied and pasted my biography and used it on her own website (word for word). That was roughly 17 years ago, and it was one of the first times that I realized just how bold people can be about helping themselves to ideas that they find on the internet. I fear this “boldness” has only grown more extreme over time.

As an Etsy seller, I contend with copycats every day. Hobbyist artists will trawl my shop for “ideas”, reproduce them, and then sell them in their own shops for less than wholesale. As Etsy has grown over the years, so have the number of copycats; I know many full time artists (myself included) who are feeling the pinch of trying to compete against cheap knockoffs of their own work. When one or two people do it, it’s annoying - as the copycat population grows and “competes” by dropping the price lower and lower, it gets harder and harder to make a living. For the most part I just try to ignore it and keep innovating, because confronting them all would be an exhausting game of whack a mole. I do say something to the more extreme/persistent violators, but as you can probably guess, that rarely ends well.

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest, because even though I enjoy being able to save cool images and ideas, I often find my own work on boards with titles like “Stuff I’m Gonna Make” or “Hot Glue Gun DIY”. Yay :confused: FWIW, I do not go looking for this - Pinterest often shares these pins/boards with me because they are consistent with my interests. While it makes me cringe to see that, I try to shrug it off. However, I have had 3 different occasions where I’ve had to file a DMCA takedown with Pinterest to remove pins from websites offering unauthorized “tutorials” for my work - using my images with my watermarks removed - to direct people to their sites. I try not to get emotional about it, but there’s no getting around it - it’s painful to see the work of your hands and heart misused this way.

Even more troubling is when the Chinese manufacturers get hold of your designs. I’m not a big fish, but even so, I’ve had 3 or 4 encounters with this since 2013, when Etsy “redefined” handmade, and opened the floodgates for mass produced junk. I have friendly competitors who deal with this on a much larger scale than I do; one friend repeatedly finds her artwork offered on eBay and Alibaba at 10% of her price. Those artists have my deepest empathy and respect - I’m not sure that I could handle that as gracefully as they do.

My most recent kerfuffle with Chinese knockoffs on Etsy was just a couple of weeks ago. I was searching keywords on Etsy to see how my SEO terms were working (which is a necessary part of selling online, and also how I discover a lot of these copycats) - and I spotted a listing that looked uncomfortably similar to one of my mask designs. When I clicked on the listing, I realized that the reason it looked so similar was because they were not only offering my exact design, they were using my photos to sell it! One of the photos showed my daughter modeling the mask … which really hit me where I live. The shop had designs (and photos) stolen from seven different mask makers, and to Etsy’s credit, they did remove the listings. Sadly, this was not enough reason for Etsy to actually close the shop.

So whew, this is much longer than intended - and honestly, I’ve only shared a small fraction of my experiences with this. I’m not posting to throw a pity party, but because I hope to encourage everyone on this forum to be mindful and to be honorable. I know that many of you have Pinterest boards of stuff that you hope to make when you get your Glowforge, and that is (genuinely) awesome. Be inspired, be excited - but please also remember that when you bookmark artwork that inspires you, that artwork was made by a real live human being. To you, the image represents a cool idea to try - but to them, it just might represent their livelihood.


I think that both posts, by @marmak3261 and @Drea, were very well written and thought out. It’s an excellent reminder from them both to regard others creative rights. Thanks to both of you.

OK…weird…this is what I got when I tried to ‘like’ Drea’s post;

1 Like

I needed to hear this and we all could do well to take notice. Thanks for the wonderful testimony.


Oops, I hope I did not sound like I was pointing that at you personally! Not my intent. Forgive me (all) if that read like a lecture. I’ve been trying to find a tactful way to open up a productive conversation about this topic, and your comments about building a respectful community seemed like a good jumping off point for such a discussion.


I wouldn’t worry–pretty sure that was a typo. He probably intended to say “needed” but sometimes the autocorrect misinterprets.


No. Quite sure he meant “needed”.
He is right. We have all seen things that inspire us, but for a true artist there is no satisfaction in claiming a work that is not your own.
It’s a function of character. For a good indicator of your personal growth, take a good look at what you are tempted by.


@Drea - removal of watermark is willful infringement. Disgusting.

I haven’t personally used this service but know others who have and have collected. I’m thinking about signing up though.

While you may not necessarily be making a living off of your images (as a photographer would), your imagery is a huge part of what sells your product.


Sorry for not checking my post. Your post should be required reading for anyone visiting this forum, especially for those wishing to be ethical and respectful of what others do. Great perspective!


No worries! Others were able to infer what you meant to say right away, it just took me a minute to catch up.

PS. Thank you for the kind words regarding my post! It was difficult to write (this stuff is so draining, I’d much rather be creating than defending my work) so I’m glad to hear that it was received positively.

1 Like

Agreed. Unfortunately, it’s very common.

It’s a sad fact - if you sell your work online, you will probably have to deal with this at some point. This topic came up here a while back, and someone aptly posted something to the effect of “you learn to just file the DMCA takedown - or grumble into your coffee cup - and move on” (bad paraphrasing on my part, I’m just too lazy to search it down ATM). They’re right - you have to develop a thick skin for this or it will make you crazy. I’m usually pretty good about that, but the last couple of weeks have been especially stressful in this regard, so I’m a bit of a mess right now.

That image rights site that you linked is very interesting! I’m bookmarking it for future research. As it stands I do register my copyrights, and when needed I send C&D letters and/or DMCA takedowns. In most cases, that’s sufficient. I’ve dreaded what I would do in a situation that was significant enough to warrant a court case, as those can drag on for years and become incredibly expensive … ImageRights says they’ll assess your claim and cover your fees up front, so that could be very helpful in a serious infringement case!

Here are a few more links that may be helpful to anyone who’d like to learn more about these topics:

Copyright basics:

Fair use guidelines:

Sample cease and desist letters (she has a “gentle” version as well as a “strict” version):

How to file a DMCA takedown:

Here in WA, we have an org called “Washington Lawyers for the Arts”. Most major cities have something along these lines, and they’re a wonderful asset! Ours offers free legal clinics (where you can get advice from an actual lawyer) as well as low cost seminars:


Thank you for sharing of the unfortunate education you have had to endure. Bookmarked.

1 Like

One of the things @Tony and I wrestle with a lot at Glowforge is how to delight both our customers who are professional designers and want to make a living from their work, and our customers who love to print things and want unlimited access to designs without restrictions.

We’ll muddle through it as best we can and try to make both groups happy, as each depends on the other for what they want.


“You can please some of the people all of the time,
you can please all of the people some of the time,
but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

1 Like

Provide Legal Exculpation and Sign Everything? You can totally do that for all of the people all of the time.

No small feat, given the tremendous diversity and imagination of your customer base! I have faith that you’ll rise to the occasion.

Will different catalog items have different terms of use/creative commons licenses? This is common in the beading community, where designers will specify how their patterns can be used. For example, some designers are very liberal, allowing you to do whatever you like with the items that you create from their patterns, but others will only allow you to sell work made from their patterns if you credit them for the design. Some pattern designers specify that you can sell a limited number of items for “pin money”, while others state that their designs are for personal use only.


Dan’s 10/15 response to the OP regarding types of licenses for the catalog…