Sketchfab Launches Public Domain Dedication for 3D Cultural Heritage

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We are pleased to announce that cultural organisations using Sketchfab can now dedicate their 3D scans and models to the Public Domain using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0). This newly supported dedication allows museums and similar organisations to share their 3D data more openly, adding amazing 3D models to the Public Domain, many for the first time. This update also makes it even easier for 3D creators to download and reuse, re-imagine, and remix incredible ancient and modern artifacts, objects, and scenes.

We are equally proud to make this announcement in collaboration with 27 cultural organisations from 13 different countries. We are especially happy to welcome the Smithsonian Institution to Sketchfab as part of this initiative. The Smithsonian has uploaded their first official 3D models to Sketchfab as part of their newly launched open access program.

CC0 by Thomas Flynn on Sketchfab

This announcement is only just the start of Sketchfab’s support for CC0—we expect and invite more institutions to add 3D models to the public domain via the CC0 dedication in the future. If you work at a museum, gallery, or archive and want help dedicating your organisation’s 3D models to the Public Domain, please get in touch.

Sketchfab + Creative Commons

In 2014, Sketchfab adopted Creative Commons Attribution licenses for the newly introduced download option. Since 2014, over 300,000 3D models have been made available by creators offering their work for reuse under these generous and standardised licenses. Attribution licenses allow people to reuse a 3D model under the condition that:

You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made – Attribution 4.0 International,

With the introduction of the CC0 dedication for cultural heritage content, Sketchfab continues to foster ongoing artistic and academic reuse of 3D data under clear and easily understandable terms. The main difference between CC attribution licenses and the CC0 dedication is that under the CC0 dedication:

You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. – CC0 1.0 Universal,

This means that 3D artists, filmmakers, VR & AR creatives, 3D print studios, brands, 3D hobbyists and everyone in between can dive right in and incorporate classic and ancient 3D data into their workflows—even for commercial purposes—without any need to credit the original creator.

See how 3D artists are already remixing cultural and historical 3D models in the collection below.

Remixes & Reinterpretations by Thomas Flynn on Sketchfab

We’ve also added a post to the Sketchfab Forum with more information about what you can and can’t do with Public Domain 3D.

Supporting Open Access

Sketchfab’s implementation of CC0 dedication for 3D cultural heritage content is in harmony with the ongoing trend of open access policies that are being adopted by many of the world’s leading cultural organizations. With thousands of museums, libraries, art galleries, and archaeological projects already using Sketchfab to share their 3D data online, we want to make it easy for organisations to align their digital 3D collections with their open access policies.

We are especially grateful to our launch collaborators (listed below) and look forward to continuing this program with more organisations long into the future. For now, click a link below and dive right in to explore public domain 3D from any one of these amazing collections. Where a link takes you to a profile page, this indicates that the organisation in question has dedicated their entire collection (with maybe one or two exceptions) to the public domain.

About the author

Thomas Flynn

Community & Cultural Heritage Lead at Sketchfab.

Expert in 3D scanning, photogrammetry, online publishing & dissemination.

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