Archives for the category: Copyright protection and DRM

May 2, 2015

The Legal Fight to Put Whatever You Want In a 3D Printer

If Stratasys has their way, a hobbyist trying out some new kind of gunk in their 3D printer, just to see if it works, could be at risk of prosecution under US law. Motherboard reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIn late March, the 3D printer manufacturer filed a request that asked the US Copyright Office to deny a petition that would legally protect 3D printer owners who want to “jailbreak” their machines. The petition, filed in November of 2014 by digital rights group Public Knowledge, asked for an exemption to legislation meant to prevent product tampering. Tinkerers need to be able to circumvent the chip-based verification systems on printer feed cartridges, the petition argued, in order to experiment with printing materials not approved by the manufacturer.

The legislation in question is US Code 1201, which makes circumventing technological protection measures (TPMs) built-in to consumer products a crime. Exemptions from 1201 are considered every three years as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act rulemaking process, and they’re granted on the grounds that the restriction on a certain class of technologies—in this case, 3D printers—would stymie the creation of works that don’t infringe copyright.

“Right now, there’s ambiguity, and users are anxious about the liability of using outside material,” said Michael Weinberg, the author of the petition. “I actually don’t think that’s a fact, but I realize that it’s enough for Stratasys to come after you, and you’d have to litigate that question. That costs money, and it’s enough to chill most average users.”

The ambiguity arises because US Code 1201 does not govern copyright. Its purpose is to make tampering with products that have digital protections in place against the law, whatever the eventual goal.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:05 AM | permalink

May 30, 2014

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About 3D-Printed Piracy

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 3.43.40 PM.png If you can print nearly any object, then you can copy nearly every object. That line of thinking has led to worries that people will use 3D printers to steal the designs for copyrighted material. Melba Kurman and Hod Lipson, authors of Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing, explain why you shouldn’t fear the printed future. Excerpts:

Embrace It, Don't Fight It

quotemarksright.jpgWe predict that 3D-printing technologies will create new markets, not gut profits from existing ones. The toy company Hasbro recently signed a partnership with 3D Systems to codevelop a website where children can design and print their own custom plastic Hasbro toys.

Smart companies will add value to existing products or entice customers to pay a premium to purchase authentic products that come with a quality guarantee. Wise companies will embrace 3D printing to enrich the users' experience, not embark on quixotic IP battles against their own customers.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Popular Mechanics]

emily | 3:40 PM | permalink

December 9, 2013

Is digital piracy possible on any object?

First it was music, movies and novels, but now everything appears to be at risk of piracy. But with a "Spotify for objects" being set up, is it an opportunity for developers to realise their dreams or is there a big risk of their ideas being taken for nothing? The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... To avoid the risk of piracy that increasing numbers of people are fearing, despite the current lack of commercial applications, a company called Authentise has developed a way to protect the work of the creator.

Developed as both a way to protect and a marketplace, it will offer users the chance to "stream" objects to a printer rather than own the plans outright, lowering the chance the design might get shared.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:22 AM | permalink

October 17, 2013

Analyst Predicts 3D Printing Will Lead to $100 Billion in IP Theft

03dpiptheft.jpg Everyone knows that widespread 3D printing is supposed to enable hordes of designers, DIYers and manufacturers. But if IT research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. is correct, there's another batch of folks it will benefit: Lawyers. [via Core77]

quotemarksright.jpg At last weeks' Gartner Symposium/ITxpo conference in Florida, the company released their "Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2014 and Beyond." The report contained this ugly, probably inevitable prediction:

By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion per year in intellectual property globally.

At least one major western manufacturer will claim to have had intellectual property (IP) stolen for a mainstream product by thieves using 3D printers who will likely reside in those same western markets rather than in Asia by 2015.

The plummeting costs of 3D printers, scanners and 3D modeling technology, combined with improving capabilities, makes the technology for IP theft more accessible to would-be criminals. Importantly, 3D printers do not have to produce a finished good in order to enable IP theft. The ability to make a wax mold from a scanned object, for instance, can enable the thief to produce large quantities of items that exactly replicate the original.

In other words, get ready to lawyer up.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 7:55 AM | permalink

August 29, 2013

Authentise: A Spotify for Physical Objects to Drown Out 3D-Printing Piracy

A startup called Authentise wants to skip the file-sharing Napster era and go straight to the legal, commercial streaming services. It developed a technology that works like a Spotify for "physibles"—a newly coined term for 3D-printed objects, MIT's Technology Review reported via Motherboard.

quotemarksright.jpgThe process is similar to how digital streaming for music or TV works—you go to the website, choose the object you want to print, and the company sends it directly to your 3D printer. The key is, it's a one-time shot. You can't download the design file—you never even see it, because that would leave the door open to unauthorized copying.

The game Authentise is really in is intellectual property protection. (The tagline is “Let them 3D print it. Once.”) The technology they've developed, called ShapeSend, is essentially a DRM scheme for physical things. It's set to launch next month.

... Already The Pirate Bay has a section for physibles and is bracing for the 3D-printing revolution. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 12:51 PM | permalink

August 14, 2013

On 3D Printing, ‘Game Of Thrones’ And Copyright

got-iphone.jpeg Silicon Beat writes about how 3D printing will soon be a boon for copyright lawyers and digital forensic experts, taking as an example HB0's cease-and-desist letter of last February to the maker of a “Game of Thrones” iphone dock.

quotemarksright.jpgHBO cried copyright infringement on Fernando Sosa, whose small company sold an iPhone dock inspired by the hit TV series, and demanded that he halt sales. Sosa complied and issued refunds.

Copyright battles are inevitable and one company called Authentise claims on its website that it’s helping companies get ready for the 3D-printing “revolution” by serving as an exchange for design files that are protected and authenticated.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article

emily | 10:07 PM | permalink

July 29, 2013

Why Patents Won't Kill 3D-Printing Innovation (Op-Ed)

UP_printer.jpg An interesting op-ed piece in LiveScience by Melba Kurman and Hod Lipson co-authors of "Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing".

quotemarksright.jpg... In this article we're not talking about the unresolved, looming battle over pirating or the 3D printing of unauthorized copies of IP (intellectual property)-protected designs. We mean patents on actual 3D-printing processes, tools and materials that are filed by companies that make and sell 3D printers and related technologies.

Patents drive technological advancement, but not in the way most people think.

Patents have helped 3D-printing technology advance, but not by giving a patent holder temporary control over a particular printing technology. Patents, particularly key patents on critical platform technologies, have pushed 3D-printing technology forward by introducing constraints. Patent-induced constraints force technological ingenuity — which, in turn, drives innovation. The reason several different 3D-printing techniques exist today is, in part, the constraints imposed by patents that blocked key technologies and hence required the creation of workarounds.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:14 PM | permalink

July 22, 2013

3D printing held back by patents

According to Fudzilla, the use of cheaper 3D printing is set to take off when a batch of patents expires in 2014.

quotemarksright.jpgDuann Scott, design evangelist at 3D printing company Shapeways said that in February 2014, key patents that currently prevent competition in the market for the most advanced and functional 3D printers will expire. The important patent is one which covers “laser sintering” which is the lowest-cost 3D printing technology. Because of its high resolution in all three dimensions, laser sintering can produce goods that can be sold as finished products.

At the moment it is only possible to buy expensive 3D laser sintering printers, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars each. But once the key patents on 3D printing via laser sintering expire, we could see huge drop in the price of these devices, says Scott.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - 3D printing will explode in 2014, thanks to the expiration of key patents

emily | 7:01 PM | permalink

July 16, 2013

Don’t criminalise design copying, says IP organisation

A leading intellectual property organisation has slammed the Government’s plans to criminalise deliberate design copying. Design Week reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe IP Federation, whose members include Dyson, Nokia and Microsoft, says the proposals have potentially ‘damaging’ consequences.

The Government unveiled plans to criminalise design copying earlier this year. The proposals are currently being considered by Parliament as part of the Intellectual Property Bill.

The change would see breaching design right becoming a criminal offence - in line with breaching copyright and trademark laws, which are already criminal offences. Design right gives automatic protection for unregistered designs and generally refers to 3D rather than 2D or pattern designs.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 3:56 PM | permalink

June 30, 2013

Plugs and 3D Printing - Piracy Problems in Perspective

plug.jpgReplacing a plug from your kitchen sink isn't abnormally difficult. They're only a few dollars from the local hardware store. TorrentFreak reports on 3D printing as an alternative and the copyright issues that will inevitably come up with this new option.

quotemarksright.jpg There's no doubt a factory buried in the depths of China is churning them out by the truckload. However in the coming few years, that factory in China could see its precious plug-making business go down the drain as ordinary people with their own 3D printer put it to the task of producing a replacement plug in a matter of minutes. But in order to do that, they'll need a blueprint of some sort, especially if they aren't the best at designing their own. reports.

This scenario raises many questions, with the first being where that plug design originated. It could be brought from an official online store, or it might originate from a professional plug designer, with someone buying the plug and putting it into their 3D scanner to create a file ready to send to their own 3D printer so they can make a couple more for the other sinks in their home.

Rather innocent, you would think, until it ends up elsewhere on the internet, namely a BitTorrent site, for others to download and duplicate.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:34 PM | permalink

May 5, 2013

3D printed Hermes belt buckle


3D printed Hermes belt buckle for sale on Shapeways. Definitely not a good idea. Designer can expect a cease and desist or a lawsuit if this comes to the company's attention. Hermes is very agressive when it comes to protecting their brand and products.

emily | 8:53 PM | permalink

April 29, 2013

Guns, drugs and lawyers – a long list of issues are emerging from new printing technologies

In the past three years, a feverish buzz has developed around 3D printing. The excitement has been accompanied by concern that proliferation of this technology will create legal challenges, in particular for intellectual property rights holders.

This article by The Lawyers Weekly provides a summary of the evolution of 3D printing and also a cursory review of some of the implications for intellectual property rights-holders and regulators.

emily | 7:13 PM | permalink

April 26, 2013

WIPO and 3D printing experts, debate 3D Printing

The hallway of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) new building hosted a uncommon display of surprising objects on 25 April, a foldable seat made of plastic that once folded vaguely resembles an umbrella, a pair of improbable antique lace high heels plastic shoes, and a collection of equally strange items, all of which were made with 3D printing technology. A “3D printer” was also busy manufacturing a set of plastic objects. IP Watch reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWIPO Director General Francis Gurry, chairing the panel discussion organised by WIPO, said 3D printing has potentially enormous implications for manufacturing capacities throughout the world. One of the reasons for the patent system is that technologies are disclosed, Gurry said. In the case of 3D printing, the first patent filing was in 1971and the first patent was granted in 1977, so the technology is now in the public domain, he said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 1:34 PM | permalink

February 27, 2013

Why copyright law won’t be able to keep up with the crazy world of 3D printing

If you’re trying to understand how existing intellectual property law applies to 3D printing, let me save you some time: It’s a complete mess, writes Ricardo Bilton of VentureBeat, in a must-read article on the subject.

quotemarksright.jpg From top to bottom, 3D printing raises more legal questions than it answers. There are lots of companies making 3D printing hardware, even more companies offering online repositories of 3D designs, plenty of services that will print things for you, and almost zero precedent for disputes among them. From a legal standpoint, 3D printing is the Wild West.

While that may sound liberating for such a young industry, it’s also potentially dangerous. There’s a very real chance that the lack of any regulation could be replaced with bad regulation. And that could have some dire effects on the whole industry.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 6:36 PM | permalink

February 26, 2013

Are We Really on the Verge of a Napster-fication of Physical Objects?

According to ReadWrite’s John Paul Titlow via MIT Technology Review:

quotemarksright.jpg... Before long, many of us will be able to print physical objects as easily as we once burned DVDs. And just as the Internet made trading MP3 music files and ripped movies a breeze, downloading 3-D images to print on your shiny new MakerBot printer will be as easy as torrenting The Hurt Locker.”

Well, maybe some objects. As we’ve pointed out here before, most consumer 3-D printers can only work with a limited range of materials, and are far from able to perform the sophisticated manufacturing processes that lead to many of our favorite products.

While enthusiasts can print and share designs for things like Tintin’s cartoon moon rocket and Game of Thrones inspired iPhone docks (which by the way was blocked by HBO), the catalog of 3-D-printable objects is small, especially when compared to the trove of music that became available for free thanks to MP3s and file sharing.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:43 AM | permalink

February 15, 2013

HBO Blocks 3-D Printed Game of Thrones iPhone Dock

got-iphone.jpeg Wired reports that a tiny, detailed, 3-D printed Iron Throne iPhone dock is no more, thanks to a cease-and-desist letter from HBO, which owns the rights to the Game of Thrones series.

Fernando Sosa, who modeled a tiny detailed 3-D printed Iron throne iPhone dock and listed it for sale on his nuPROTO website, received a takedown notice from HBO, claiming a copyright on the throne.

quotemarksright.jpg “While we appreciate the enthusiasm for the Series that appears to have inspired your creation of this device, we are also concerned that your iron throne dock will infringe on HBO’s copyright in the Iron Throne,” says the letter.quotesmarksleft.jpg

In Michael Weinberg's opinion over at Public Knowledge this appears to be a textbook application of the DMCA takedown process in action., but it also highlights something of a missed opportunity for HBO.

quotemarksright.jpg Industries (music and movies come to mind) initially spent time and money stopping people from making things available online, but spent very little time and money giving people a way to pay for things online.

They have given a number of people who want to pay for an Iron Throne phone dock no way to do so. Long term, that is not a sustainable way for anyone to react to 3D printed disruption.

All of this makes CCIA's Matt Schruers’ question: “where can a geek buy a phone throne?” all the more relevant. If the answer is “nowhere,” then you are doing it wrong.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 7:57 AM | permalink

February 11, 2013

3D printing brings a new dimension to faking it

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 3.34.06 PM.png Thanks to 3D printers, budding counterfeiters could soon create parts or goods themselves. The problem for authorities is that copying physical objects is not always illegal. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWhile songs, movies and literary works are automatically protected by copyright, functional objects like tables or chairs don't have any automatic protection.

Patents can be used to protect useful pieces of engineering or sciencey things, but you have to apply for a patent, and it only lasts for twenty years,” Michael Weinberg, a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, says. “But the world is full of things that are not protected in any way, so anyone can make a direct copy."

It's likely that laws relating to intellectual property will have to be updated or clarified in the future, to take in to account the capabilities of 3D printing technology.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:30 PM | permalink

February 8, 2013

Hot New Marketplace for 3-D Printable Objects Hit with Copyright Issue over Jewelery Designs

3Dlt-nervous-systems-660x287.jpeg 3DLT based in Cincinnati, 3DLT offers a marketplace for 3-D authors to exhibit and sell their designs. But they recently ran into some copyright issues, according to Wired.

quotemarksright.jpgJessica Rosenkrantz, co-founder of Nervous System, learned that some of her jewelery designs were for sale at 3DLT.

The designs at issue are five of 3DLT’s fashion offerings (until recently, the entire fashion category). “They changed the names and descriptions but are using our images,” says Rosenkrantz..quotesmarksleft.jpg

According to 3DLT which has published an open apology on their website, "some of the products and images on the site were being used as placeholders and were not approved for use." The files have since been removed.

Read full article.

emily | 8:18 AM | permalink

January 31, 2013

White Paper: What's the Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing?

What's%20the%20Deal%20with%20Copyright_%20Final%20version2.jpeg White Paper: What's the Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing? by Michael Weinberg, January 2013.

quotemarksright.jpg... 3D printers do not take away intellectual property rights any more than computers grant them. But they do provide an opportunity for people to reexamine old assumptions about how the system works.

However, the copyright habit is a hard one to break. For many people exposed to 3D printing for the first time, the question that follows "is it real?," "how does it work?," and "how can I get one?" is "what about piracy?" And by piracy, they usually mean copyright infringement.

This whitepaper does not directly answer the piracy question. 3D printing is a tool and, like any tool, can be used for productive and not-so-productive purposes. Making unauthorized copies of physical objects protected by copyright is copyright infringement, whether those copies are made with a 3D printer or a whittling knife. It will happen.

Instead, this paper is an attempt to answer the unvoiced question that comes before concerns about piracy: is this obaject protected by copyright in the first place? After all, if there is no underlying copyright there can be no infringement of that right.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via boingboing]

emily | 8:23 AM | permalink

January 14, 2013

The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing

The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing pubished in SCRIPTed - A Journal of Law, Technology & Society via Scoop.i!.


quotemarksright.jpgRecent developments in producing affordable and hobbyist-friendly printers that can reproduce three-dimensional rather than just flat objects may mean that printing a toast-rack or a comb becomes as easy as printing a birthday card.

Any lawyer familiar with copyright and trade mark law can see, however, that printing one’s own birthday cards could, depending on the source and nature of the images used, infringe a number of intellectual property (IP) rights. Tempting as it may be to copy and use a picture of a well-known cartoon character, the resulting cards would very likely be an infringement of the copyright and perhaps trade marks owned by the relevant rights holder. But what if someone uses a printer capable of producing a mobile phone cover bearing such an image? Or reproducing a distinctively-styled piece of kitchenware? What about printing out a spare wing-mirror mount for your car? Do these uses infringe IP rights?

In the first part of this paper, we review the history of 3D printing and describe recent developments, including a project initiated by one of the authors to bring such printers into the home. We then examine the IP implications of personal 3D printing with particular reference to the bundle of rights that would typically be associated with a product that might be copied.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full document by S Bradshaw, A Bowyer and P Haufe, "The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing", (2010) 7:1 SCRIPTed 5.

emily | 1:12 PM | permalink

December 2, 2012

The PC all over again?

Just as computers make it easy to copy music, 3D printers will soon allow easy copying of certain kinds of objects. The Economist warns of infringement issues — such as websites hosting 3D design being sued down the road as "havens of piracy".

quotemarksright.jpg... Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge, an advocacy group in Washington, DC, fears that the fledgling technology could have its wings clipped by traditional manufacturers who see it as a threat to their livelihoods.

Because a 3D printer can make perfect replicas of many kinds of object, manufacturers may seek to brand it a “piracy machine” and demand additional measures to protect their traditional way of doing business. Mr Weinberg worries that they may behave rather like the record industry did when its own business model—based on selling pricey CD albums that few music fans wanted, instead of cheap single tracks they craved—came under attack from Napster and other file-swapping networks.

The danger is that America’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) will be used to stifle free expression, jeopardise fair use and impede competition—by, for example, blocking the distribution of blueprints for aftermarket replacement parts such as brake pads or toner cartridges. Draconian enforcement would reduce consumer choice and hamper the huge potential of 3D printing to spur innovation.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

[via @ttranpham]

emily | 9:37 PM | permalink

October 25, 2012

EFF Fights To Protect 3D Printers From Illegitimate Patents

3D printing and access to said printers have grown exponentially in the last year as the technology becomes more affordable for all. That being said, there are those who would rather restrict the technology for their own profit instead of making it open source. Now the EFF has joined the fight to keep 3D printing open and innovative. Webpro News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAs the EFF points out, many of the core patents regarding 3D printers have expired or will soon expire. This opens up the potential for a whole new wave of innovation in the 3D printing scene from independent engineers and others. The only problem is that there are those who would file or extend patents in 3D printing to keep this technology out of the hands of the open hardware community, and the EFF says that’s no good.

So what are they going to do about it? They’re asking for the community’s help in identifying new patents that threaten the open nature of 3D printing. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 11:16 PM | permalink

October 23, 2012

3D Printing Faces Legal Blocks Years Before Mass Consumer Use

The world of personal 3D printing was just around the corner, until last week, when a patent application was accepted by the USPTO that essentially blocks the use of 3D printing for reproduction of almost anything. article3 reports.

quotemarksright.jpg3D printers can build almost anything, from bikes and bike parts to food and weapons. The endless possibilities are what the patent holders want to prevent.

The patent, filed in 2008 and granted on October 9, 2012 to Nathan Myhrvold's company Intellectual Ventures, — preemptively halts owners of 3D printers from producing copyrighted products. quotesmarksleft.jpg

According to Digital Manufacturing report:

quotemarksright.jpgThis patent lends a 3D printer the ability to assess whether a computer design file it's reading has an authorization code included that will allow access for printing. If it does not, the machine simply will not print, regardless of the object. So who is Intellectual Ventures? A 3D printer manufacturer? Well, no. Depending on your perspective, Intellectual Ventures is either the biggest, most aggressive patent “troll” that ever existed or an innovative company that helps inventors protect their intellectual property and get return on their investment. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 11:10 PM | permalink

October 16, 2012

UK Study On 3D Printing — A Call for an Official Policy Framework


Researchers at Big Innovation Centre Andrew Sissons and Spencer Thompson published in October a report titled Three Dimensional Policy: Why Britain needs a policy framework for 3D, a thought provoking study on 3D printing’s potential to provide a competitive edge within manufacturing and stimulate economic growth – especially in and for the UK. 3DPrinting Industry reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe report is designed to stimulate debate at the higher echelons of industry and government and puts forward the critical issues:

-- Intellectual property

-- Regulation

-- Legal responsibility

-- Standards

-- Materials

-- Infrastructure

It goes on to present some first steps the government can take towards achieving the coherent 3D printing policy framework.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 11:13 AM | permalink

April 5, 2012

How A Geek Dad And His 3D Printer Aim To Liberate Legos

uck-00f01m_thumb_large.jpeg Last March, hacker and professor at Carnegie Mellon Golan Levin and his former ­student Shawn Sims released a set of digital blueprints that a 3-D printer can use to create more than 45 plastic objects, each of which provides the missing interface between pieces from toy construction sets. Forbes reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThey call it the MakerBot’s $1,100 Thing-O-Matic can download those files and immediately print a plastic piece that connects their Lego bricks to their Fischertechnik girders, their Krinkles to their Duplos, or half a dozen other formerly incompatible sets of modular plastic blocks, sticks and gears.

... Levin and Sims have been careful. The patents on all the toys ­integrated in their kit expired years ago. But a copyright lasts many decades longer than a patent, and that’s the cudgel lawyers are using against downloadable objects.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:19 AM | permalink