Is This The First DMCA Notice Over 3D Printer Plans?

from the begin-the-beginning dept

Just a few months ago, we highlighted how an upcoming battle in the copyright world will be coming from the rise in 3D printing, and the ability to simply print out new physical objects based on plans. And, as a few different folks have sent in, a site that collects and aggregates 3D printer plans called Thingiverse recently said that it's received its first ever DMCA takedown notice over a plan for a 3D printer object. To avoid liability, of course, the site complied. The specific DMCA takedown involved this 3D printable design of "the impossible triangle."
Of course many people wondered if the guy claiming copyright on this, Dr. Ulrich Schwanitz, had a valid copyright on this, since the basic design he's talking about is just the famed Penrose triangle, and there are plenty of examples of people making it. On top of that, the DMCA takedown he issued was over people creating similar Penrose triangle 3D printer designs based on a challenge Schwanitz himself put out there, to see if anyone else could figure out how to model a printable Penrose triangle, and the winning results figured it out:
Of course, the very fact that they figured it out themselves, without the specific instructions on how Schwanitz did it, lends even more credence to the claim that the takedown was completely bogus. They created these new versions not by copying his work, which was hidden away, but by understanding the basic physics and optics of how to create something that appears like the classic Penrose triangle. In fact, the creator of the 3D printable version above notes that his version was "based solely on the 1934 design painted by Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard," which makes me wonder what sort of copyright claim Dr. Schwanitz actually has over the design.

In the end, Schwanitz decided to back down, rescinding the takedown notice and promising to release his version into the public domain (where it may have really been all along). Still, this definitely is an early warning sign of things to come. I'm sure it won't be long before we hear of more copyright issues related to 3D printers, and they'll be over issues a lot more serious than an optical illusion.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 5:35am

    They call it dirt for a reason

    Masnick,

    You once again attempt to fully engrace me with your presence, but with a three-week-old story.

    Who prioritizes your stories? I ask because I want to give them a reference to work for my competitors.

    Keep up the good work (I think)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 5:45am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Is your life so devoid of meaning that, when you find no fault with the content of a story on TD, you must instead make a completely irrelevant comment complaining about TD, a site you visit often?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 5:45am

    They call it dirt for a reason

    Did you even see that kid? I mean, wow. What a stand-out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=oyZxzkd-Jsk

    When he becomes 16, he's going to have many more opportunities than I ever had.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 5:50am

    They call it dirt for a reason

    Sorry, that kid is awesome because he said he could make something "that annoys your parents"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:01am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    You fool! Mike was obviously caught in a time shift!

    Mike was actually posting this BEFORE it happened, but, because of a temporal shift, caused by an unpatched bug in his server's Linux Kernel, it actually got posted long AFTER it happened.

    Or maybe this has been on the story queue for ages, but got pushed back because other, more important stories kept showing up. Nah, occam's razor: Time shift did it :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Shawn (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Anonymous Coward,

    You once again attempt to fully engrace me with your presence, but with a weak lametroll attempt.

    Who informed you of the best place to get breaking news? Did you figure it out all by yourself? I ask because I want to give them a reference to work for my competitors.

    Keep up the good work (I think)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    I don't know about the other dude, but I can find plenty of fault in the story.

    The most important being that the plans to print something on a 3D printer would be the same as the plans to build a house. Yes, you can copyright building plans (and even trademark the "names" of these places), even if the look of the building is similar to other designs in the past. Architectural plans are both science and art, and merit protection.

    It wouldn't be unreasonable for that to be extended off to 3D printable objects (and maybe even the future Star Trek Replicator Device).

    If designers want to put their product in the public domain (or 3D CC license), that is their right and more power to them. But there should not be some sort of assumption of free to start with, as it would not line up with any other legal standing for art or design items.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:14am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Does 3D printing frighten you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Password Manager, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Spot On

    The history of 3D imaging is fascinating, and it seems as though the conversation and legal side of things will be heating up as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    I wish to live in an optical illusion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Let's think about this:

    Cost of materials - Consumer spends $X

    Cost of finding blueprints - Consumer spends X amount of time finding their desired schematics or building their own

    Cost of a DMCA takedown because people aren't buying your products but making their own?

    Companies are going to hurt themselves.

    Finally, the cost of knowing you have a printer to make up new ideas for a cheaper price? Priceless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Illusion

    We already live in an illusion. You have the illusion of freedom. In actuality you are nothing more than a cash-cow for the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Since the "building plans" weren't used by any of the other "house designers", but they came up with their own, based also on the older design, your comment is completely irrelevant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Did you read the article? There is prior art in existence that predates his own claim to copyright. So his claim to copyright is shaky at best. You're arguing against something that isn't there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Matthew (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:55am

    Doctorow novel

    Cory Doctorow's novel Makers (available for free) deals with this a lot. http://craphound.com/makers/download/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 6:56am

    Re: Illusion

    Ha! Joke's on them! I'm broke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    It should frighten everyone! Just think, people can print their own CDs! This will destroy the music industry and all artists will go broke! No more culture!

    /sarc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    The most important being that the plans to print something on a 3D printer would be the same as the plans to build a house. Yes, you can copyright building plans (and even trademark the "names" of these places), even if the look of the building is similar to other designs in the past. Architectural plans are both science and art, and merit protection.

    It wouldn't be unreasonable for that to be extended off to 3D printable objects (and maybe even the future Star Trek Replicator Device).


    Why don't we just stop coming up with new technology? It seems like any time someone invents something innovative, most of the effort goes into finding ways to put limits on it. Limits either built into the technology itself or imposed on it by the legal system.

    Companies make faster internet services and then place caps on the accounts so that people can't actually use it like they want to. We invent digital files that can be copied an infinite number of times with no loss in quality and all the corporations spend millions coming up with ways to make them un-copyable. They invent display devices capable of beautiful HD pictures and then they saddle them with restrictions on what can be connected to them. Companies like Netflix come up with the idea of letting people watch streaming movies online and the studios try to kill it with high fees and restrictive licensing.

    Why even bother inventing something new when it will just be the source of controversy and a push to have all sorts of limits and restrictions placed on it? Much better to just freeze technology at its current level than to try adapting to a world where things are no longer finite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    crade (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Yeah, I agree technology sucks ass now. It used to be exciting. Now it's just another way to scam people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Some of my best friends are Anonymous Cowards, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    Bitch, fuck you.

    Not everyone is a dilettante with nothing better to do than jack off and troll blogs (I think).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Berenerd (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    i see something worse...TSA agents printing up full body scans...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Chris, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Re: Doctorow novel

    His short story "printcrime" more directly deals with it, and only takes about 2 min to read.

    http://craphound.com/?p=573

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Spot On

    The history of spam is fascinating too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    > You once again attempt to fully engrace
    > me with your presence

    "Engrace" is not a word, genius.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    > It wouldn't be unreasonable for that to be
    > extended off to 3D printable objects (and
    > maybe even the future Star Trek Replicator
    > Device).

    I'm waiting for them to invent the holodeck technology and the furious legal issues involved with celebrities upset that Joe-Six Pack can come home from a rough day at the plant and order up Angelina Jolie for a night of X-rated adventure.

    Or the guy who divorces his real wife in favor of an completely realistic hologram which he can turn off whenever he likes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 11:19am

    Re: They call it dirt for a reason

    but with a three-week-old story

    (1) Story is just a few days old, not three weeks.
    (2) We make no claims to breaking news, and quite frequently write about stories that are three weeks old or older.
    (3) This story includes much more recent news, including yesterday's revelation that the guy backed down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Experimenting With Business Models, Apr 11th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    How much has changed

    I haven't read techdirt in a while so I wouldn't know if my question has been addressed but I was curious, how does this affect your post "The Grand Unified Theory On The Economics On Free"? Do we simply erase merchandise such as CDs, figurines, action figures, and accessories? Or are they still scarce so as long as "official" is attached to the merchandise?

    How will this affect the industries that rely on physical scarce goods? Will the embracing of this technology by many industries be futile as home 3D printers become more feasible?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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