3D printing's first copyright complaint goes away, but things are just getting started


20 Responses to “3D printing's first copyright complaint goes away, but things are just getting started”

  1. Raines Cohen says:

    an interpretation of the underlying public domain work inspired by Schwanitz’s design.

    I Believe adding a comma before inspired could help prevent this from being misread as saying that the public domain work was inspired by Schwanitz.

    The other lesson from this experience: if you have a correction to a blog post, make a comment and blog your own correction rather than waiting around for an email to get read an acted on.

  2. Bernel says:

    While this shape may be known as a Penrose Triangle, it was not invented by Roger Penrose but by the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd two decades earlier. Just to clear up another misattribution.

  3. joris says:

    This Penrose triangle thing just got a new plot twist. It turns out that Magician Francis Tabary has been making aluminum 3D penrose triangles since 2004: http://www.francistabary.com/index.php?menu=detail_impossible&num=20

  4. Anonymous says:

    If anyone wants to create their own variations on it, this program solves this entire class of impossible cube figures.


  5. das memsen says:

    So can we drop the ridiculous concept of idea-ownership yet? Or do we have to wait a few more decades, first?

  6. Chrs says:

    Let’s just say I’m not worried about your last point anytime soon. Printing at the molecular level, easily? We’re fifty years from that, at most optimistic.

    But yeah, I don’t know exactly how this will work, but I strongly suspect that this will naturally flow into patent law where it belongs.

  7. twak says:

    Procedural content is when you design a machine that creates something (a 3D model!). I wrote this a while back about some of the IP implications of this technology.


  8. Dan Mac says:

    The Economist weighs in on 3D printers:

  9. Anonymous says:

    Challenge people to reverse engineer your (unoriginal) object, then get mad at them for being successful? Really?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone think to ask Penrose what he thought?

  11. duann says:

    I am not sure Ulrich actually issued a challenge?

    You can download his original version now here http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=24093&#msg_24093

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess it has been taken as a challenge because of non-disclosed and perfectly working trick (great work). Maybe the price of $70 on Shapeways was perceived as high by the (rather technical?) potential buyer ?

      - I’m wondering what would have happened if the price of this object was $9.99 ?
      - I’m also wondering what would have happened if the author had shared the trick from the beginning ?

  12. devophill says:

    I love ya, Cory, but you gotta watch that not parsing thing. You do it kind of a lot, and if you don’t watch out it’ll bite you in the ass!

  13. Simon Bradshaw says:

    I wondered how long it would take…

    The question about how 3D printing impinges in IP rights has been looked at by Michael Weinberg from a US perspective (see previous BB coverage and the paper Adrian ‘RepRap’ Bowyer and I wrote from the UK legal position.

    Product spares will be a big issue. In the UK we have a very strong legal tradition of protecting the right of consumers to buy (or make!) third-party spares, but this is subject to constraints – see the Dyson case on appearance-matching accessories for vacuum cleaners. As for the question of when something stops being a sculpture (protected by copyright in the UK) and instead becomes a mere 3D product (protected at most by limited design rights), we are about to go into Round 3 of Lucasfilm v Ainsworth, as the UK Supreme Court decides what category Imperial Stormtrooper helmets fall into.

  14. Anonymous says:

    … 3D models of sex toys …

    I look forward to the day when there is an open source repository of 3D data for printing dongs and vibrators.

  15. julian says:

    Seems like the other point here is that somebody couldn’t wait more than “a few hours” to get an answer to an email. I think that at least 24 hours should be the minimal expectation for a response to an email, unless there is some prior understanding about the need for a quick turnaround.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree. Or maybe Cory needs one of those “Out of Office” replies be sent whenever he is offline for more than a half hour.

  16. tebee says:

    It’s hard for me to workout what, if any, copyright would have been infringed, most likely Penrose’s !

    If the STL or other 3-d file was not a direct copy of the original but an independent re-creation then it does not infringe – the resulting 3-d object has very little copyright protection except possibly as a sculpture and the fact that it was based on an original that was was not intended to be a 3-d design would suggest that any copyright would vest in that in much the same way that if you copy one of Disney’s figures in 3-d the copyright rest with them not you.

    Trying to grant copyright to 3-d object would be the start of a slippery slope with very unfortunate unintended consequences.

    Copyright is generated by simply creating an applicable object, it does not have to be applied for. So if it applied to 3-d objects then every man made object would be covered by copyright and it would be next to impossible to ever take a photo or show anything on television without breaking copyright law!

    I’ve a longer version of this reply on the Shapeway’s blog linked above, to save repeating it all have a look there.

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