It is unfortunate to bring up one very important topic that is caused by a fraction of GrabCAD users, yet concerns many.
Matt Lombard from Dezignstuff pointed us to an issue that GrabCAD engineers are uploading models to GrabCAD that are not created by themselves.
Here is where we stand.
We do not support activity where engineers are taking credit for models originally created by other people. We started GrabCAD with very limited resources to help engineers to do their own work more efficiently and providing an environment to share knowledge that would save time and effort for many others. We are building and developing the service on the basis of good will and are expecting all engineers to use it with the same principle. Unfortunately there is always a fraction of people who abuse the good will of others and damage the ground where we all stand.
Open environment. Our goal is to give engineers a solution that they can use without strict controls. We believe that like many technology and science areas, engineering should be more open, the industry profit from the global knowledge and know-how of the world's engineers and encourage community collaboration. We also believe in engineers' professionalism, hence have no short term plans to start checking all uploaded models manually before allowing them to publish the content to the whole community. Doing that would be contrary to our approach and contradict the values we believe in. However, we can set guidelines - not publishing and giving credits to users uploading other peoples' models is something we think is the right thing to do.
All the above mentioned (plus, the feedback we are receiving every now and then) has made us to take the following action:
- There is going to be a flag button for models that users click to report stolen, improper or broken models. We are currently working on adding this, so expect the feature be fully usable from February 1st.
- In addition to our Terms of Service already today stating that every user warrants 'the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party', we are adding an extra notification to the upload form to make all users to be aware of the source and ownership of the uploaded model. This will also be in every upload form from February 1st.
- We are manually taking down all the content that we are being reported about and that does not belong to the uploading engineer, infringing the rights of the original model creator, patent, trademark or copyright holder. If you notice suspicious models, please e-mail us the link to the file with your explanation or cause of the concern.
We are also working on finding solutions how engineers could share content that they have improved or worked on, yet do not own themselves and how to extract that from the profile view, yet be made available as useful content for others.
Again, the main reason why we are developing GrabCAD is to help engineers to do their work better. There are tens of thousands of students that are using these models and Q&A for learning and are benefiting from more experienced engineers' knowledge and experience. We believe it is a good thing that they can learn faster and get inspiration from other great engineers like Matt Lombard.
There are engineers who have uploaded their own models so that big automotive, aviation companies have found their profiles on GrabCAD and have hired those engineers to work for them. The skills and experience reflected in the quality of the models have generated a lot of interest in industry companies. Hence, the integrity and credibility of everyone's own work is more and more important to all parties involved. It is a great way for potential partners and employers to find talent, and on the other hand, it is a great way for engineers to show their abilities. All in all, if those models in the talented engineers' portfolios would not have been theirs, they would not be working for those companies today.