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Shapeways Announces Major Changes to Terms & Conditions, Content Policy

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Shapeways, the 3D printing service based in New York City, has just raised $30.5 million in Series D funding from heavy-hitting investors such as Hewlett Packard Ventures, Presidio Ventures, Sumitomo Corporation, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures and Lux Capital.

Since CEO Peter Weijmarshausen–along with co-founders Marleen Vogelaar and Robert Schouwenburg–opened the company back in 2008, Shapeways has built a huge online 3D printing marketplace and community which has printed more than 2.5 million products.

Peter Weijmarshausen

Peter Weijmarshausen

More than 150,000 new designs are uploaded to the site every month, and with 620,000 community members–30,000 of whom sell their products on the marketplace–Shapeways prints each item on-demand from factories and offices in Eindhoven, Netherlands; Long Island City, New York; and Seattle, Washington.

Now the company has just announced some meaningful changes to their Terms & Conditions and Content Policy, and while some of those changes were just housekeeping to remove references to services the company no longer offers, some will prove critical to users.

One of those changes includes some sweeping differences in how User Generated Content (UGC) will be handled.

Michael Weinberg, the general legal counsel for Shapeways, says that while the previous document said that by uploading UGC to the website users essentially handed over “a broad license to use that content,” the new terms of service narrows that license and includes additional restrictions on the use of such content.

shapeways logoImages and other UGC – content which does not fall within the category of models – are now available to users for sharing on blogs and social media. As a caveat, the sharing of that material will need to include “prominent links” which point back to a creator’s Shapeways shop or page.

Weinberg says that while a good share of that type of activity “would likely be protected by fair use and not require a license in the first place,” Shapeways did decide to “clarify permissions in the interest of encouraging sharing.”

A second change of note, a clarification of how Shapeways might use uploaded models internally, the new terms are meant to make it clear that models may be used for internal testing and education, to test new processes, and even to train the company’s production staff. Weinberg says that changes are meant to “make sure that our processes and people can handle anything that you will throw at us.”

Other changes involve how the company tracks and responding to DMCA takedown requests, a prohibition of “obscene” usernames, the elimination of “overly aggressive” copyright ownership language, a cap on direct damages and limitation of liability if things go wrong, and various lesser “miscellaneous” contractual clauses.

What do you think about the changes to Shapeways’ terms of service and conditions? Do you see anything you believe might be out of line, or is it just business as usual? Let us know in the Shapeways Terms of Service Changes forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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