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I've run into a conundrum where I want to purchase two 3-D models (one of a Boeing 787 and one of a Volvo semi truck with trailer) from Turbosquid for use in a commercial, but both models are listed under an editorial, non-commercial license, presumably because they are depicting real-world products.

However, there are other models of the exact same plane and truck (available at either a higher price or lower quality or I would've saved myself the dilemma) that are released under a standard royalty-free license for any use.

So who should I believe? Did the artists in the latter case not know what they were doing? Were the artists in the former case being too cautious? Might the latter artists have gotten special permission from the manufacturers to sell their models for commercial use?

And furthermore, is it on these artists if they released something under a commercial license that they shouldn't have? Or am I the one in trouble if I buy an improperly "commercially-released" Boeing airplane model and Boeing comes to me later saying that I used their stuff without their permission?

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To make things even more confusing, the "editorial-only" Boeing 787 model I want to buy has a generic texture applied to it. Other 787 models that are released for commercial use have airline logos right on the side of them, which I would think would be a double-whammy. –  user15000 Aug 27 '13 at 18:21
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Try limiting to one question. You have asked similar questions within one hour. You can edit your questions if you need to add more content so please edit your first question with some of the material here. –  Gramps Aug 27 '13 at 18:59
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I just edited the title of the question to be broader and more specific at the same time (since it can be applied to any similar case, not just 3D models). Do you agree? You can rollback to the previous state if not :) –  Yisela Aug 27 '13 at 21:55
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Your edited title does not fit the question now. You clearly indicate in the question other models are similar but not exactly the same. –  Scott Aug 29 '13 at 14:32
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3 Answers

I would think (and I'm not a lawyer) whatever the license states is what you must abide by. If it's an incorrect designation, that's not for you to decide.

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(not a lawyer but as I understand it...)

A license is a contract between you and the copyright holder on what you are allowed to do with the product. So, as long as the contract is legal, you're signed up to that contract (and so are they).

In most countries you can challenge any contract in court if it makes a demand beyond what the law allows them to demand... but I suspect this isn't nearly beyond the law, it's just rather annoying.

But there's nothing stopping you asking them about it. Since every 'sale' of a license is one contract between licensee and copyright owner, in theory, you could try to negotiate a new contract or a change to the exact terms of the contract. If they wanted to, the copyright holder could agree to change the terms of the specific license they have with you, without affecting anyone else who bought the same model.

But of course it's unlikely they would agree to this. If a company is prepared to upgrade a license, it'll normally be a consistent pre-determined policy and something they charge for. They're well within their rights to refuse to consider making exceptions (just like you could say no if they called you up asking you to accept a more restrictive license).


Sometimes in more informal cases, it's possible to negotiate licences like this.

For example, some amateur photographers release their work on Creative Commons licenses that forbid alterations for derivative works, and sometimes it's possible to convince them to allow you to make alterations to one photograph, for a derivative work they might be sympathetic to - effectively granting you a different license to the one that is given automatically to everyone else downloading the photo. But again, it depends on both parties in the contract agreeing to it, and they can just say no.

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You are not buying the artwork. You are buying a license to reproduce it for a specific purpose.

As such, any artwork may have any number of licenses.

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