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

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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.

    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6516

  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.

    http://twak.blogspot.com/2010/03/procedural-content-vs-copyright.html

  8. Dan Mac says:

    The Economist weighs in on 3D printers:
    http://www.economist.com/node/18114221

  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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