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Pt 615

This is a bit of a follow to some ongoing posts about 3D printing… Pirate file-sharing goes 3D @ New Scientist:

Tony Rodriguez, who works for Oregon-based digital watermarking firm Digimarc says that valid 3D files could be marked by subtly altering the 3D design without changing the printed object. This would let a 3D printer distinguish between a manufacturer’s file, which contains the alteration, and one made by scanning an object, which does not.

Perhaps such techniques will not be relevant. Michael Weinberg, staff attorney for Washington-based intellectual property (IP) advocacy groupPublic Knowledge, says that while text, music and video are automatically copyrighted, “the vast majority of physical objects aren’t protected by any sort of IP right”. Copying inventions protected by patents is illegal, as is replicating a trademarked logo, but measuring a desk and building a replica is not.

Panicking companies may push for stronger IP laws if 3D printing becomes more widespread, but Weinberg says this would be a mistake. He suggests companies learn from the media industry’s mistakes and embrace the new opportunities it affords, perhaps by encouraging the legal downloading of object files. “If everyone has access to a 3D printer I can go online, pick an object that I want, customise it and print it out,” he says. “That’s an incredible opportunity for companies.”
They will not want to miss the boat again.

Read more

Begun the Clone War has.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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  1. [...] MAKE | Pirate File-sharing Goes 3D. This entry was posted in Daily by admin. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  2. mathcampbell says:

    Advance notice: sorry for the long comment, but I’m having a bit of an exploration on this; been thinking about the true impact of small-scale accurate reproduction for a while now…
    Think it’s bad now, wait until we have printers that are capable of extruding at a much higher resolution and with a greater mix of materials. It’s the slow, long road towards true nanotech. Eventually, we will be able to create, cheaply and quickly, from easily sourced component atoms, molecularly precise objects. Think what copyright will mean in a world where practically ANYTHING* can be created by a small desktop nano-printer.

    Of course, we still won’t be able to crete elements; most of the laptops, mobile phones, tools etc. will be made of carbon nanotubes, diamond or silicon, phosphor, nitrogen, oxygen and various hydrocarbons; metal is harder to work with atomically. I expect we’ll return to a metal-based currency as well hough, since you could clone paper money. Or an electronic currency, backed by computational problems for “value” (a la Bitcoin). Trouble with that of course is if you can print solar panels and computers for literally nothing, computing power is really only a matter of space to put the damn things. So I predict gold & silver once again to the fore. It will be interesting to see how the various vested-interests keep their IP safe in such a world, not to mention the security worries (the health implications of a nanobot “plague” are scary to think about, especially if just anyone could download and make billions…)

    I know all this sounds pie-in-the-sky, but we’re reaching the point where nanotech is feasible; once we can create simple molecular assemblers, it will be a matter of months before all the above is possible, due to the very nature of it (it will make designing and producing things a matter of drawing it in your modelling-app, clicking a button, boom, there it is). And according to Drexler & co, there are 9 needed molecular parts for doing all this, and they have already been able to synthesise 3 of them. Once we can make all 9, and a method to control them is perfected, it will make 3D printers of today look like a stick of charcoal on some tree-bark compared to a laserjet.

  3. sparkmike77 says:

    #1 common misconception: Copying a patented object/device/process is not, and has not ever been(even in the overly-litigious U S of A) illegal.

    It MAY be illegal to copy it for sale under specific circumstances outlined within the patent law of the country in which it could potentially be sold.

    Patented equipment is copied all the time for research purposes, personal use and other reasons not directly related to personal financial gain.

  4. Patented equipment is copied all the time for research purposes, personal use and other reasons not directly related to personal financial gain.

  5. I realize why some companies want to protect their 3D scans, but we actually love it when scans made with our scanners get into the hands of 3D printing enthusiasts. They always surprise us with innovative add-ons and we love seeing our scans become physical objects.

    In fact, it’s great getting emails like – “hey, it’d be cool if you guys scanned xxxxx”. We try to scan it and post it on our site.

    In any case – I’ve been reading Make Magazine for a while and if any readers want us to scan something for them to print, please email me your ideas.

    Anna Zevelyov – Director of Business Development
    Artec Group Inc