Selling Topographical data

There are data here :

I am amazed that some people on sketchfab can take free models/data and sell them for $40. Not sure how legal it is to make money out of these dataset but it is at least not very nice!

We don’t allow this, can you please contact me on to discuss?

Yes, I agree that this is an issue. It’s almost impossible for us to proactively detect this though, so this kind of report is very valuable. In the case of the Everest models though, I’m not sure they’re breaking any rules:

–> I see no evidence that this is Google Earth or other data, how did you determine this?

–> Checking the terms of use, it seems that commercial use of this data is not excluded as long as you credit the origin:

So while I agree on the general principle, I’m not convinced these two examples broke any rules.

Well I never aim at the first model, no idea where it comes from and in my original message I did mention it was more of an ethical issue than copyright.

Copyright of 3D models is still a bit unclear but sketchfab as a leading plateform for 3D asset should pay more attention to that. JAXA is mentioning that commercial use are fine, it might not need directly sell the data is fine. Normal commercial use would be in video game or animation etc… Selling 3D models was quite restricted in the past so they might not have consider that.

Nevertheless, it is research data and it’s just weird to see it’s ok. We could go on, sell a 3D world and nobody would notice.

Honestly sketchfab is doing very little about it. When sketchfab model are sold on other platform, it is a big deal, but the other way around is quite accepted. Now Sketchfab being a business I understand the priority, but as leading plateform it is a bit sad.
For example, it could be easy to ask seller to clearly indicate where the data come from in the case of making models from images, Lidar etc… (to differentiate from 3D artist for example).

You are selling several models that are procuded in a dodggy way. Having worked with google data, they don’t really let you freely make money with it.
Also we can easily spot various building made from youtube video. This might be harder to find the original source, however the quality speaks for itself. If you have your own drone with RC, you will get a good quality model. It is harder to get a clean one with random youtube video. Also youtube video cannot be directly downloaded from the plateform so it is very doddgy.

I’m not talking about random small models but some of you best selling one, advertise on other plateform. I am not digging for these :wink:
We are used to working with crowdsourcing data and data from internet, hence we are sensitive and aware about copyright. Something should be done, at least by requesting more info.

Making 3D model from youtube video, from elevation, or from public data is extremly easy. Getting the data is also very easy. Using SFM software or other algorithm is not really sufficient to justify the change of ownership since it’s 95% computer work (unless there is massive manual work behind which is not the case here).


I think you’re right and we’ll discuss this further in the team. I’ll pass this message to our Store manager. He’s out of office today, but I expect he can respond later this week.

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