Tell the Copyright Office not to criminalize using unapproved goop in a 3D printer

3D printing giant Stratasys has asked the US Copyright Office to deny a proposal that would legalize jailbreaking your 3D printer in order to use your own feedstock.

Under Section 1201 of 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it's a felony to break "an effective means of access control," such as those used to check whether the consumables you put in your 3D printers have been approved by the manufacturer — that way, you can't buy cheaper materials from third parties. Every three years, the Copyright Office entertains proposals for exceptions to this rule, and this year one petitioner asked for the right to use unapproved materials in their printers.

They're not asking Stratasys to honor their warranties if they do so, or to help them do so. All they're asking for is the right to use their property in the manner of their choosing.

Stratasys says that no one really wants to do this. Today is the last day to reply to them. Here's how you do that.

The biggest objection to this request came from the 3D printing company Stratasys. Among other things, Stratasys dismisses the idea that anyone actually wants to use unapproved materials in their 3D printers, or that legal uncertainty would reduce the chances of someone feeling comfortable doing so:

"The only alleged evidence of any person experiencing uncertainty [around using unapproved materials in a 3D printer] consists of a single quote from a comment on a web forum . . . [a]t a minimum, this comment is merely conclusory or anecdotal evidence that is insufficient to meet the substantial adverse impact standard required by the statute."

The coalition fighting for a right to access and repair digital objects needs your help to show that there is more than a single person on a web forum interested in using materials in 3D printers without permission. We need you to tell the Copyright Office that copyright law should not stand in the way of using whatever material you choose in a 3D printer.

Please click here to weigh in, and please spread the word!

Do You Really Own Your 3D Printer? [Make]

(Image: 3D Printed Minecraft! Kevin Jarrett, CC-BY)