3D Copying – The Next IP Frontier

Stand by for yet another adventure is the epic historical saga “The Copyright laws were never meant to handle this disruptive technology.”

From the only Canadian more interesting than Martin Brodeur, Clive Thompson writes last week in Wired as follows:

“Last winter, Thomas Valenty bought a MakerBot — an inexpensive 3-D printer that lets you quickly create plastic objects. His brother had some Imperial Guards from the tabletop game Warhammer, so Valenty decided to design a couple of his own Warhammer-style figurines: a two-legged war mecha and a tank.
He tweaked the designs for a week until he was happy. “I put a lot of work into them,” he says. Then he posted the files for free downloading on Thingiverse, a site that lets you share instructions for printing 3-D objects. Soon other fans were outputting their own copies.”

For those of you following along here for the past few years and not responding to my Facebook ads to engage my services, we know what happens next:

“Games Workshop, the UK-based firm that makes Warhammer, noticed Valenty’s work and sent Thingiverse a takedown notice, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thingiverse removed the files, and Valenty suddenly became an unwilling combatant in the next digital war: the fight over copying physical objects.”

Can thousands of unemployed IP attorneys be organized to battle thousands of 3D copiers? Both share the same characterisitic, i.e. falling prices. Stay tuned.