Etiquette of Derivitave Work

Suppose I love the really great thing that someone made on their Glowforge.
It is great! Brilliant! Fantastic!

It inspires me to design something of my own with my own artistic take.
Maybe I learn something.
Maybe I add a twist to the concept.
Maybe I am really proud of my work - even though it would never have happened without the fantastic design of another owner here on the forums.

Is it most appropriate to post a new topic and tell you where I got my inspiration?
Is it better to continue the conversation about that inspiring piece with a reply about my derivative work?

Please advise, oh community of owners.
Because this is not a theoretical circumstance.
It is happening here in my own home.

My brain has exploded with the joy of building what someone else built first, and doing it my way.


I think that making your own new post, and then providing a link back to the inspiring project would be a great convention.

Seems that replying on someone else’s topic about your own project is sorta like a “me too!” or thunder-stealing kinda thing… although I’m sure I have done that at some point… hahah :slight_smile:


Dang! Post the thing! Can’t get in the way of that! :smile:


I guess that would partly depend on how derivative it is.

Did you make it out of maple instead of birch? Then probably just add it to the post.

Did you redesign parts of it or change the artwork? Then maybe start a new thread and give a shout out to the original design.

Are you planning on selling it? Well now that’s a whole other piles of threads we can start. :wink:


Uh-oh! I may have thunderstolen on the dovetails. (Just got me too excited!) :smile:


Yup, post the thing, and if you feel like it acknowledge where you got the inspiration. That isn’t actually required, but it’s a nice thing to do.


You coattailed the dovetails.

Edit: Way to coattail the dovetail. (Sounds better :wink: )


I like @mpipes suggestion - seems a good way to give attribution and still keep the spark alive.


Warning: strong opinion.
I feel it is really important to give attribution if you can! I think this holds for derivative work of all kinds, either from this forum or anywhere on the interwebs.

As more and more new folks join here it gets harder to keep old but inspiring posts in the foreground. Linking to them or adding to them, means that new people will get exposed to the original work that got us all so excited! Personally I don’t think it matters that much if you add to a thread or link to it. In fact I think adding to it might be just a bit better since it bumps it up to “latest”, if only for a bit.


I would suggest sending the person responsible for the inspiration a private message, and confirm to them if you’re stepping on any toes. There is some objects that someone made that might have a patent on or pending. Not likely, but might.


There are only Seven Original Stories in the world.

By this thinking almost anything and everything we do is derivative. As others have said, if you are DIRECTLY copying someones else’s work, DIRECTLY marketing it as your own then i think you overstep the line.

If on the other hand you are INSPIRED by someone’s idea and try to make it better, more personal, more in your style then it is entirely up to your own sense of Respect as to how far you go to give credit.

As most of the others have said - unless you are selling the item then why not share the love and give the credit. If you ARE selling the item then you need to look at how you attribute inspiration with a more critical eye


My two cents is it depends :smiley:
I did a narwhal phone stand that @smcgathyfay created with some minor tweaks and just added onto that thread. A whole new thread for minor tweaks seemed over much but that is me.
But then I took the stand and did my own stuff and made a new thread and of course thanked her for inspiring me to do my own.


My take is to always acknowledge where your inspiration came from and post a link to the original. If someone doesn’t want their design used, then they need to say that in their original post.

I think that in a community like this has been so far, none of this will be a problem. I’ve posted many (47) designs for 3d printing on Thingiverse, and I always mark them " Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike license." I love people printing my designs, but it would be in appropriate for them to make money from my designs without talking to me about it first. I’ve had people take my designs and sell them on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. I always call them out on it. Sometimes they care sometimes they ignore me. But if I want my design not to be copied then I shouldn’t post it on a public forum.

Hopefully, someday we will have a Thingiverse like website to share laser designs here. @dan, make sure you give Thingiverse attribution for the inspiration.


I pretty much agree with everyone here. Always attribute if you can. The dividing line between new thread and old thread is not cut and dry. Like @lairdknox said, just how derivative is it? Most of my stuff is different enough to be ‘inspired by’ so they go in a new thread.


Do what makes you feel good. Stealing internet points is for reddit.


If you want to challenge the popular narrative then do some googling with regards to public domain and IP. Spoiler alert: Disney is kind of the villian.

Otherwise I follow Wheaton’s Law: don’t be a dick.




I think it’s nice when there are new posts, even if the projects are similar. Sometimes there are a lot of comments to wade through when you just want to see pretty, pretty pictures.


That’s different! That totally added to the convo and its not like either of us were posting completed projects, we were just showing useful info.


Semi tangential, but also somewhat related:

A talented artisan friend closed her (successful) Etsy shop a couple years back because she was so tired of her work getting knocked off … often down to the smallest detail. Instead, she’s been selling at local events. At last weekend’s show, she and her husband noticed at least a dozen people taking photos (without asking). Several of these people even commented loudly about how they were going to go home and make the projects that they photographed. Obviously, that’s really rude and disrespectful … but the worst part? The item that was photographed the most was a hand painted sign that said “Don’t be a dick”!

FWIW, I don’t think that’s what happened with the OP. I’m merely relaying an ironic story, and pointing out how often people do this sort of thing without even realizing it. Won’t get started on my own horror stories with this, lest I start ranting and foaming at the mouth again. I will say that I heartily (maybe even passionately) agree with this statement: