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Protecting my Revit families

59 REPLIES 59
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Message 1 of 60
Anonymous
16729 Views, 59 Replies

Protecting my Revit families

Hi All,

 

I'm creating custom families in Revit but I'm concerned that once i've released them anyone can go into the family and edit them to suit their own needs.

 

It's worrying becasue a) I dont want people creating some frankenstein monster product that cant be manufactured and b) I want to protect the IP of the manufacturer so competitors cant use the models as their own.

 

Has anyone come across this problem and if so is there a way of watermarking or locking nested families so they cant be edited?

 

I'm sure I cant be the only one concerned about IP rights?!

 

Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks in advance.

59 REPLIES 59
Message 41 of 60
Keith_Wilkinson
in reply to: Anonymous

Actually, @Keith.Wilkinson - elements from an RFT file cannot be edited when it is saved as an RFA - hence the need to hang on to an editable RFA in addition to the uneditable RFT. Been burned by this already.


Ah, I see what you are getting at.  Create your family, convert to RFT then generate a new family from that template and save it as an RFA again - that will fix all the geometry and parameters in the RFA.  I've never tried this though to see if it causes any issues with parametrics but it's an interesting idea. 



"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Maimonides
Message 42 of 60
Sahay_R
in reply to: Keith_Wilkinson

That is correct, @Keith_Wilkinson . The fun starts when someone actually tries to edit the edit-proofed families..... 😂


Rina Sahay
Autodesk Expert Elite
Revit Architecture Certified Professional

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Message 43 of 60
Keith_Wilkinson
in reply to: Anonymous

Yeah, that's why I would be cautious of this approach... but if you had particularly sensitive content it might be an option for some people.



"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Maimonides
Message 44 of 60
ToanDN
in reply to: Keith_Wilkinson


@Keith_Wilkinson wrote:

Actually, @Keith.Wilkinson - elements from an RFT file cannot be edited when it is saved as an RFA - hence the need to hang on to an editable RFA in addition to the uneditable RFT. Been burned by this already.


Ah, I see what you are getting at.  Create your family, convert to RFT then generate a new family from that template and save it as an RFA again - that will fix all the geometry and parameters in the RFA.  I've never tried this though to see if it causes any issues with parametrics but it's an interesting idea. 


Users are still able to edit or delete the parameters in the RFA generated from the RFT freely, which in turn modify the geometry driven by parameters, or even delete them.

Toan Nguyen
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Message 45 of 60
Sahay_R
in reply to: ToanDN

@ToanDN - Editing would be to a limited extent. You would be able to add / edit geometry, add/remove types, add / delete /  edit parameters in the new RFA created from the RFT that we just saved our RFA as. But you cannot delete / copy / paste any of the original geometry that has come along from the original RFT in the same file or in a different file. So protection of data in the family would be partial. 

 

Attached family.


Rina Sahay
Autodesk Expert Elite
Revit Architecture Certified Professional

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Message 46 of 60
ToanDN
in reply to: Sahay_R


@Sahay_R wrote:

@ToanDN - Editing would be to a limited extent. You would be able to add / edit geometry, add/remove types, add / delete /  edit parameters in the new RFA created from the RFT that we just saved our RFA as. But you cannot delete / copy / paste any of the original geometry that has come along from the original RFT in the same file or in a different file. So protection of data in the family would be partial. 

 

Attached family.


 

Toan Nguyen
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Message 47 of 60
RPTHOMAS108
in reply to: Anonymous

There is this add-in for protecting family content in the project. I can't attest to how well it works (never used it). Someone just asked how it worked on the API forum so I recalled it in relation to this. Therefore I assume it does what it says it does (removes the edit family option for a loaded family making it similar to an in-place one).

 

https://apps.autodesk.com/RVT/en/Detail/Index?id=4393295023478780980&appLang=en&os=Win64

 

I think anything is reversible however i.e. if this is manipulating the family record in the project directly by setting a byte flag etc. then there will be a way of undoing that. I don't know how it works though.

 

Message 48 of 60
Keith_Wilkinson
in reply to: Anonymous

haha, where there's a will there's a way! 🤣

While you can delete elements like that it does make it decidedly more difficult for someone to modify your family.

As I've said before though, more hassle than it's worth IMO... 



"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Maimonides
Message 49 of 60

Fabio,

 

I realize this is about 8 years after you submitted your contribution, but better late than never, right?  I am very new to Revit as my industry didn't have much of a need for it until the A&E guys decided to make it otherwise.  I too am looking for a way to "write protect" a Revit family, and to this day, I am told by the Autodesk experts that Revit does not support such a function.  I'm being directed to invest in Autodesk Vault which I am still investigating.  Funny how the answer turns into spending more money.

 

Anyway, I had a look at your storage rollup door family you submitted back in 2015, and it still seems to have some user alterable elements in it.

 

Attached is a file from one of the manufacturers I have worked with for decades.  It is a simple electrical assembly enclosure, but notice how none of the knockouts or the vent patterns can be changed.  If you try to click on anything, all that illuminates is just a plain wireframe around the entire assembly.  Double clicking does nothing as expected.  Not even a partial explode or a full explode will have any effect on the object without destroying it.

 

That's what I'm looking for.

 

I'm guessing Altronix may have a direct contract with Autodesk to produce such work?

 

.....Just speculation.

 

Have a look and you can be the judge.

 

Cheers.

 

Richard Guevara

Engineer, Physical Security Systems

Message 50 of 60
RobDraw
in reply to: richard.j.guevara

Nothing special there. It's an import object. What you are seeing as protection is only due to importing content from another program.


Rob

Drafting is a breeze and Revit doesn't always work the way you think it should.
Message 51 of 60
ToanDN
in reply to: richard.j.guevara

You are mistaken a dumb family for a protected family.  If you want dumb families then it is quite simple to make them.

 

ToanDN_0-1679882548396.png

 

Toan Nguyen
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Message 52 of 60
richard.j.guevara
in reply to: RobDraw

....meaning it was created in AutoCAD (for example) and imported into Revit?

Message 53 of 60
RobDraw
in reply to: richard.j.guevara

One can only speculate on the source.


Rob

Drafting is a breeze and Revit doesn't always work the way you think it should.
Message 54 of 60
richard.j.guevara
in reply to: Anonymous

....hence, that's why I included "for example" in parentheses.

 

The question was more directed at the process rather than the source, but I get the idea now.

 

Thank you, everyone contributing.

 

Have a great day.

Message 55 of 60
tgoodwinX2SUJ
in reply to: Anonymous

I'm surprised there's no discussion here as to whether a Revit family is even copyrightable, in legal terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it's not immediately obvious to me that they would be. I can't copyright my Call of Duty settings.

The modelling and logical tools are so rudimentary/atomic, it seems like trying to take ownership of a family is like trying to take ownership of geometry itself. Copyright is for fixed, tangible expressions of an idea, and specifically excludes systems, so how does that work with parametric systems? It seems like I could try to claim any family that contains a rectangular extrusion is infringing on my RectangularExtrusion.rfa

Message 56 of 60
syman2000
in reply to: Anonymous

If you really want to protect your family, then I would suggest

 

  1. Make it complex. Make the family with build in formula to the point if someone wants to modify it or change it, it will break the family
  2. Change the language the user may not understand.
  3. Build up your name recognition as one of few people able to create a crazy family. If someone steals your family and claims it as their own, many will recognize it.
Check out my Revit youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/scourdx
Message 57 of 60
HVAC-Novice
in reply to: Anonymous

tgoodwinX2SUJ : +1

and to copyright a family, it would have to be a worthwhile family to begin with. 

 

syman2000: 

Basically just create a really bloated crappy and unusable family. That way no one will want to steal it. 

 

I don't understand the fear of copying a family. the copying person has to edit the family anyway. And the original creator isn't losing anything if someone else uses the family. it isn't like designer A sends a proposal to a client and designer B (who copied that family) shows that client that single wonderful family and gets the job. If i use a family without editing and understanding how it works, I probably lose even more. 

 

This isn't a zero sum game. My success doesn't depend on someone's failure. If we all come up with great ideas and share them, we all win and overall value (to us, our clients, to society) is greater. On this forum at least, we all rise by lifting others. I usually share my families that are the result of a thread here. More often than not, some forum members bisects it and suggests improvement. This added value would be missed if I would keep my findings secret. 

 

Keeping families, tricks and other advancements secret doesn't help you. But if you want to keep them secret, just never share them. Nowhere. If you don't share your great idea, we may be forced to come up with an even better idea. 

Revit version: R2024.2.1
Message 58 of 60
syman2000
in reply to: HVAC-Novice


@HVAC-Novice wrote:

 

syman2000: 

Basically just create a really bloated crappy and unusable family. That way no one will want to steal it. 

 

 


Yup....even I find BIMObject overly complex parameters makes me don't want to use them....lol.

Check out my Revit youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/scourdx
Message 59 of 60
Sahay_R
in reply to: Anonymous

I’m chuckling over all of these responses. General practice is that companies can copyright their projects  and provide deliverables in the pdf format which cannot be plagiarized or modified.  

 

It is possible to create edit and plagiarism proof families - but in the end is it worth the time, annoyance, and the effort? What if you need to make a quick edit to the family? Please think carefully about this. All of the techniques described above can be broken by someone who knows what they are doing.

 

I would rather rely upon the deliverable pdf to serve as guard dog for my families.  Or an IFC if that’s your deliverable format of choice. 


Rina Sahay
Autodesk Expert Elite
Revit Architecture Certified Professional

If you find my post interesting, feel free to give a Kudo.
If it solves your problem, please click Accept to enhance the Forum.
Message 60 of 60
tomas.polakCMEY6
in reply to: Anonymous

There is a BIMsign tool, part of the Holixa T4R plugin. This does not solve the problem of copying the families per se, but it digitally signs the family or project file. This digital signature can be read by BIMsign at anytime and thus prove ownership of the family.

 

It is meant for portecting the IP. So if someone stole your family and is reusing it publicly, you can prove that the original family was your work with this digital sign.

 

More info about BIMsign:

BIMSign - Holixa T4R

 

Disclaimer: I work for the developer of this tool.

 

Tom

Tomas Polak
ARKANCE

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