Submitting open-source work as your own

So I have kind of a bit of a rant that I wanna make. I posted this on r/ID as well, but I haven’t gotten many opinions.

Now, obviously no one in here would do this because of reasons. However, I wanted to hear other people’s thoughts on this.

Backstory: There was a competition to design an award for a national charity in my country. This was one of the submissions, which ended up being selected and will be printed to give away this year. It’s a mod of the original model made to look more like the logo of the charity. The winner also got a $400 cash prize from the competition. From what I heard, initially, the Thingiverse model was brought up as an objection to disqualify the entry, but was overruled by the rest of the judging committee. In the end, it was selected because the judges found the concept of the moving pieces so fascinating, even so knowing that the design was copied from somewhere else.

Ethics aside, since the model on Thingiverse has a really broad license, should the person who submitted the entry be in any hot water? Would there be any implications for the organization, other than the standard “internet outrage”? It should be noted that at no point did the contestant credit the original file. Is this something that they can get out of by simply posting a link to the original file saying, “Credit: ______”?

That being said, there was a ton of other shenanigans that happened, like the fact that judging criteria changed when they began to select the winners, they pushed the deadline back because no one else had finished their final physical pieces by the due date, changed the format on picking winners, etc.

Lastly, if anyone’s wondering, I did enter, made it to the finals, but didn’t get selected. I can post my submission in case anyone wants to see it.
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Interesting, it seems like they changed the scale of the teeth at least, though the finer teeth on the Thingiverse model look a bit nicer in my opinion.

I’m not a lawyer (obviously, but needed to be said) but it all depends on what the license says on Thingiverse. did the contested download that file and alter it or start from scratch. What amount of change is a reasonable amount to qualify it as a unique design in your country?

In terms of the court of public opinion, even if people did see this as an outright copy, what do you think is the appropriate amount of outrage for a one off competition to design an award for a charity? Probably little to none. I’d let it go and move on.

As an aside, I’d be more interested to see your submission!

To make a long story short, you’re right. In the end, I’ll just let it go, add my own work to my portfolio (which I’m pretty proud of) and then move on. According to sources of mine, it almost did get selected.

This is the actual model used: Three Heart Gears by emmett - Thingiverse and this is the license: Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0. The model wasn’t actually changed, other than modifying it to make it look more like the charity’s logo.

So, the license for the model is actually pretty broad, almost being open-source. I’d say, legally, (not a lawyer either hah) there’s probably no repercussions to be had. I guess my whole issue with the ordeal is the fact that the contestant at no point mentioned the Thingiverse model. Additionally, when the announcement was made and media coverage happened, the model wasn’t mentioned either, though at least it needed that much, according to the license. Policing it is a whole other story, though.

As an aside, since the initial submissions only required a drawing of sorts, the contestant didn’t actually download or modify the piece. This was done for her during the prototyping phase. Looking back on this, this whole ordeal is as much on the selection committee as it is on the contestant, since they’re the ones that approved it and carried it all the way through to victory.


Now, for some background. The contest is actually for the national Telethon that’s held every year. It’s the country’s largest fundraiser and held in high regard at a national level. I think they’ve held contests in the past. So, not Red Dot, but not something super small either. Actually, the artist who designed last year’s award was a judge this year. The awards are given out to celebrities that come in from other countries and other collaborators as well.

Initially, the initial call for submissions had pretty lax requirements, with the minimal requirement being just a sketch/drawing. They did it that way to make it inclusive to the entire population. They were going to select 10 finalists, who were supposed to go to the local makerspace and work on their prototypes. A winner would then be selected out of the final prototypes, which were supposed to be as close as possible to the final one, from which 150 would get made.

In the end, they changed their selection process mid-contest without telling the contestants, picking 3 that would be made over the course of the next 3 years, especially since the ones they also liked weren’t feasible to batch produce in three weeks’ time.

This was my submission! Well, the final deliverable, at least. (and IG link to it: Ramon Yip on Instagram: "A few weeks ago, I participated in a contest to design this year's Honduras Telethon recognition award. Made it to finals and worked for a couple of weeks to deliver a physical piece, which was judged among 9 others. In the photo, you can see a few of the iterations that I went through, differing materials and finishing. The chosen design was to have 150 made to give out to visitors and others involved with Telethon. Tonight was the closing ceremony for the contest, so I finally feel comfortable posting this design publicly. Sadly, my design wasn't selected at the end, but the whole prototyping process was a great learning experience and a good reminder of my college design days. ===== Hace unas semanas, participé en una competencia para diseñar el reconocimiento de Teletón Honduras 2019, que se les otorga a visitantes y colaboradores. Fui seleccionado como uno de los finalistas y trabajé un par de semanas para entregar el concepto en físico, el cual fue juzgado entre 9 otros. En la foto se puede ver varias versiones del diseño, con diferentes materiales y acabados. El diseño seleccionado sería producido en masa para crear 150 reconocimientos. Hoy fue la clausura de la competencia, por lo que por fin me siento cómodo en compartir mi diseño en público. Lastimosamente, mi diseño no fue seleccionado, pero esto fue una buena experiencia de aprendizaje al igual que un buen recordatorio de mis tiempos habiendo proyectos similares en la facultad de diseño en la universidad. #idsketching #industrialdesign #productdesign #3dprinting #prototyping")

Here’s a link to other finalists’ submissions: CCIT on Instagram: "Te presentamos los 10 finalistas del concurso “Solidaridad a través del arte y la tecnología” muchas gracias a cada uno de los participantes y felicidades a los 3 ganadores." The other two winners were the layered one and the blue/red one with the 3D logo.

I went through the whole process of 3D print, primer/sand, silicone-mold and finally casting made out of plaster. We made the initial cast with PerfectCast (gold/gray one) and it ended up really smooth, almost looking like marble because of the pigment we mixed/swirled in. Not entirely happy with the results as I had some really big air bubbles, I decided to recast it. Problem was we ran out of the initial material and I had to look for local stuff, which resulted in the one in the photo 8 casts later. (Had trouble finding a suitable and cost-effective replacement.)

My thinking was that since 150 would be needed to be made in a time span of 3-4 weeks, molding would’ve been the quickest route. Additionally, I didn’t want anything merely 3D printed because I don’t like that aesthetic/finish as something to give as an award. I finished my piece a week before the original deadline, while no one else was done by the time the deadline came. As such, it was extended two weeks, with most proposals ending up being 3D printed with little to no finishing just to save up on time.

I guess my main problem is that the contest was supposed to promote technology and innovation, but they ended up picking something that was a copy of someone else’s work. Also, I guess this sort of became a passion project since I haven’t been able to do any real design work in quite some time.

ryip: Your submission is really nice! What a great experience building the mold and casting it too.

Too bad about the copy winning, but, life isn’t always fair.

It truly was a really great experience! Hadn’t done anything like this since college days so it was pretty nice.