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Haydenovative

Saving Intellectual Property

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Hey Gang,

Just a question for those event and AV producers out there. Our company has spent a lot of money having venues and equipment drawn and modelled beautifully. We currently create floorplans and renders for our clients and send them as PDFs. The question is what steps are you guys using to protect your intellectual propert, we have flattened 2D versions for those event companies savvy with Vectorworks but I have heard of people having watermarks across many layers etc which while annoying is not undoable.

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

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Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "flattened 2D version," I don't understand why you would ever deliver VW files to a client if your concern is to protect your IP. It seems to me that even a 2D VW file would provide enough detail to be used as a base to redraw a useable approximation the original 3D model. It probably wouldn't be worth the effort if the event was a one-off, but it might be worth it they regularly run events in the same venue(s). (Of course, they could import a PDF or image file and trace over it, but it would be significantly more work to get everything aligned since they would lose the snaps.)

I'm not sure watermarking a layered file is an effective way of protecting IP.

Removing passwords, digital signatures, and restrictions from PDFs is a pretty trivial exercise: heck, there are free websites that will return an unlocked copy to you in a matter of seconds. (In my other life, I'm a semi-pro musician, and there's nothing more irritating than buying password-protected or locked PDF sheet music that I have to go through 4-5 steps just to open and print out, only to discover a big honking watermark in the middle of the page that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to read.) You can then open the unlocked copy in Acrobat Pro or a layered image editor like Photoshop or Illustrator and strip out the watermark.

The only way I could see watermarking being effective is if the file is a flattened image file (and even then, someone sufficiently motivated edit out the watermark in an image editor.)

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This is not a perfect solution, but I don't send VWX files. I always export them as DWGs and send that. I am mostly interested in protecting my symbols that I have spent lots of hours and money creating. I never really thought of the venue. Exporting as a DWG will strip all the VW data and stuff from the file. Yes they can still go in and recreate a symbol from all my geometry, but this at least makes it more work. This is something that I brought up on the Wish List forum a while ago.

http://techboard.vectorworks.net/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=37000&Number=182510#Post182510

I agree there should be an easy way to protect the IP that we create. VW has put locks in on their symbols and tools (you can't use architect symbols in without a Architect or Designer license), why can't they do the same for us?

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but it would be significantly more work to get everything aligned since they would lose the snaps.)

Exported pdf files from VW are vector based, thus you can snap to them.

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but it would be significantly more work to get everything aligned since they would lose the snaps.)

Exported pdf files from VW are vector based, thus you can snap to them.

Hmm .... I just exported several files and imported them into a new doc. Some snap, some don't, and some have VPs that snap and other VPs that don't! Wonder what the difference is?

Oh well, you can always convert the PDFs to raster-based in Photoshop or another raster-based image editor.

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I don't know what other industries you guys work in but it's not a simple client vendor relationship in the event production / Entertainment world.

Maybe the producer starts the drawing, or in this case the AV company. The file either gets emailed, or shared via a cloud service and someone else adds in their bits.

Riggers add truss, the sound guy adds the speakers, lighting draws in the light fixtures, all on a shared file.

If it ever passes through a DWG it all goes to hell.

There's no way to lock down your own IP stuff.

For this reason we have pretty much given up creating unique symbols and just use the stock stuff that comes with VW or other plug ins.

In this case what about protecting the 3D venue that you created?

Again I don't have a good answer. Take myself for example. I'm currently working on a model that a producer gave me. It has all the room decor, and structures, and I'm adding my lighting, and then rendering that and sending it back to them.

Yup I now have a 3D model of that venue that I've added to my inventory.

How to we make a drawing "add only"

I can't add lighting to a pdf, and if it's a DWG it might work but when I send it back to you then you have to go through this import process that maybe the geometry doesn't like up.

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I agree. We need a way to make symbols lockable, so I can distribute but know that it's "read only" and they can never change anything, thus making it somewhat unusable.

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This is such an interesting discussion that I've had in the back of my mind for a few years.

In most of the companies I work for it's PDF all the way. The VWX file never leaves the office, ever. Especially in VW2013 with Lighting Device and custom symbol data being strongly embedded into the files themselves it makes it difficult to manage even the most basic of saves/exports.

It's interesting what you can now reverse engineer through from a PDF these days, layer and class data occasionally too. If any of you have received a PDF in the last 2 years you should bring it into VW and do a simple ungroup on it, vector data will flow for days, not only lines but rectangle, poly and arc data too. I've had one or two PDFs come into the office with layer data, (although I'm not sure how it would get there).

In short the VWX never leaves me, too many Lighting Devices, custom plugins, scripts, title blocks, VP layouts to be considered.

As for what can be done when you HAVE to export, decomposition of 3D objects, meshes not solids, 2D over 3D, removing all record data, the list goes on, mainly it's just a pain.

Just an opinion, ;)

J

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Maybe the producer starts the drawing, or in this case the AV company. The file either gets emailed, or shared via a cloud service and someone else adds in their bits.

Riggers add truss, the sound guy adds the speakers, lighting draws in the light fixtures, all on a shared file.

If it ever passes through a DWG it all goes to hell.

There's no way to lock down your own IP stuff.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Thanks everyone for your insight on this. I really like the idea of an add only export. there is also a theory booting around our office of a cloud accessible file which is treated as add only and is only editable by the author or those given specific editing (Deletion) authority.

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Maybe the producer starts the drawing, or in this case the AV company. The file either gets emailed, or shared via a cloud service and someone else adds in their bits.

Riggers add truss, the sound guy adds the speakers, lighting draws in the light fixtures, all on a shared file.

If it ever passes through a DWG it all goes to hell.

There's no way to lock down your own IP stuff.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Thanks everyone for your insight on this. I really like the idea of an add only export. there is also a theory booting around our office of a cloud accessible file which is treated as add only and is only editable by the author or those given specific editing (Deletion) authority.

Where the industry is going, or where bim should be going, is a centralized bim server for a project where everyone will put in their part of the job into the database and thus where every party can only edit their things. This way, we can collaborate better and the IP will be protected....

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Hey Guys,

So Ive had a new product introduced to us that allows sharing of our beautiful custom models without the threat of losing IP. Does anyone have much experience with CADFaster? Its a plug-in tool that allows the export of a standalone .exe file model.

This does not help with collaboration in the way we have discussed but it does allow clients who are not CAD savvy to be impressed with the detail we put into show without the risk of theft of our IP.

If anyone out there can break one of those open and steal its goodies please let me know.

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