Can the "intended use of a model" from part of the author of a model compromise me?

Hi, I’m having some doubts about the use of some CC-BY licensed models.

There is a stucco manufacturer company that has a profile here on Sketchfab and posts most of their models under CC-BY. I want to use a moderately high amount of their models (about 100 out of their 1000+ catalogue) in my project, that is an indie videogame. I have talked with the company via message and they allow the use of their models in “any projects”.

The thing is, in the past, navigating on a different 3d model database website, I found the same company offering their models for free, plus many other ones. At that moment I also contacted the other companies that offered their models for free and most of them answered me with a:

“we make stucco models for interior design, and videogames are not the main intended use of our models. But we can sell you a license for use on your game.”

It was strange as the terms of use of that website had it clearly that I could use the models for derivative works of any kind, even without attribution. Anyways, as the page seemed pretty untrustworthy, I ended up dismissing the possibility of downloading from there. But as I said, I found one of those companies here on sketchfab publishing under CC-BY.

So, the question is, even if it is under CC-BY, can the company sue me or ask me not to use their models because I end up using them in “not the intended original use” or something among those lines?

Thanks in advance.

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I’ll start by saying that this isn’t legal advice but just my reading of what the CC-BY license means in the situation you are describing. If you want firm legal answers, you should ask someone with legal expertise :+1:

With that out of the way, from my reading I would say that no part of the standard CC-BY licence limits the use of an asset to specific intent or subject. As long as you’re providing appropriate credit as the license states. There are a couple of sub CC-BY license options also on Sketchfab, some of which prohibit commercial use which effect what you have planned, but again I don’t see anything in them that requires an ‘intended use’.

As a side note, it’s a good idea to keep track / evidence (screenshots) of the license in use by a model when you downloaded it. Even if they change the license in the future to something more restrictive, you are bound by how it was licensed when you downloaded it :slight_smile: