major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Legal Clanger)
Metro: Will 3D printing revolutionise the way we eat?

Others see trouble ahead. With the notorious Pirate Bay file sharing website hosting 3D printer designs, legal battles lie in wait. Lawyer Simon Bradshaw said: ‘I think we are going to have a very big court case in the next couple of years because someone is going to say “I have rights and I want to enforce them”. ‘I would not be surprised if there was pressure to change the law. When we get to the stage when you can print a Louis Vuitton handbag big brands are going to start jumping up and down.’
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A few days ago I had an email from 'Adapterz LLC' pointing me to this site and mentioning that my paper on IP and 3D printing had been cited as an inspiration:

The Free Universal Constructor Kit

In a nutshell, this group are creating 3D design files to allow you to print parts that connect one constructor set to another.

I commented on the site to say that (a) it was nice to see my work being cited, (b) they should probably be careful not to assume that the relevant bit of law was simple or universally applicable, and (c) that I agreed with some other comments to the effect that their name was not very clever.

I got a reply by email from a Golan Levin saying, in part,

Regarding the name of the project: it is part of our media strategy, which is to say, it has been instrumental in raising awareness about the project (and the issues it raises about 3d printing, IP, etc.). Metaphorically the name relates well to the notion of mating parts, especially across species. We wholly concur that it is juvenile, but respectfully disagree that this is a bad thing, or that another name would serve the project better. Anyway -- we hope we can agree to disagree about this. You will notice that we never refer to the project by its acronym.

To which I responded:

In terms of the name of the project, I would ask you this: do you really want to put off that large part of the maker community who happen to be female? A lot of male geeks tend to laugh off use of sexually-loaded language and assume that anyone who is offended by it is merely being prudish. Unfortunately many women experience such language mainly in the form of insults or offensive comments and are much less likely to take it as a joke. I see from your website that your team is almost entirely young and male and I would ask you to reflect on whether your 'media strategy' needs considering from outside your very narrow demographic.

That was nearly a week ago. Not surprisingly I never got a reply.
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (IP Law)
Readers of my LJ may recall my LLM project on the intellectual property implications of cheap 3D printing, which I turned into a paper for SCRIPTed along with RepRep inventor Adrian Bowyer.

One of my predictions for the sort of item that might be attractive to print at home was as follows:

Craft and Hobby Items. Craft hobbies often require plastic moulds; as with appliance spares, these are often expensive but could be produced with a 3D printer. A 3D printer could equally produce items directly, such as model figures for war-gaming or specialist add-on parts for model-making.

with a footnote to the comment about model figures:

19: 32mm model figures from Games Workshop £2 - £10 (uk.games-workshop.com (accessed 25 March 2010)).

Well, it seems that not only did I make a predictive hit, but I scored a bulls-eye!

The Guardian: Pirate Bay irks Games Workshop by sharing 3D plans for its designs


The community recently had its first run-in with copyright law when tabletop battle games company Games Workshop issued DMCA takedown notices against Thingiverse, a site where "makers" share designs.

Games Workshop spokesman Kyle Workman said: "We are very protective of our intellectual property, and our legal team investigates each issue on a case-by-case basis."


Why did I pick GW? Because having seen their Warhammmer figures, they were the most obvious example to me of something that could be reproduced in a 3D printer (solid, no moving parts, supplied unpainted) and which were expensive enought that it might be attractive to print them if you already had a printer. On that, the Guardian article rather misses the point; if you already have a 3D printer, or access to one, then the effective cost is just that of the raw material, i.e. plastic feedstock.

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