California Bill Would Require Libraries Post Scary Warning Signs Not To Do Infringy Stuff With 3D Printers
from the how-dare-you-build-useful-stuff dept
For a few years now, folks like Michael Weinberg have been pretty vocal about warning the world not to screw up 3D printing by falling for the same copyright/patenting mistakes that are now holding back other creative industries. Trying to lock up good ideas is not a good idea. Just recently we noted how 3D printing was challenging some long held beliefs about copyright, and we shouldn’t simply fall into the old ways of doing things. At our inaugural Copia Institute summit, we had a really fascinating discussion about not letting intellectual property freakouts destroy the potential of 3D printing.
Well, here comes the start of the freakouts. Via Parker Higgins, we find out that there’s a new bill in the California Assembly, AB-37*, which would require libraries that have 3D printers to post stupid signs warning people not to do nasty infringy things with those printers:
This bill would require every public library that provides public access to a 3D printer, as defined, to post a notice on or near the 3D printer that would alert users of the 3D printer of the potential liability of the user for misuse of the 3D printer, as specified. This bill would require the Department of Justice to draft and distribute this notice, as specified, and annually review and revise the notice for accuracy. By imposing additional duties upon local officials, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.
In the actual text of the law, they’re explicit about how it’s about not infringing intellectual property:
The Department of Justice shall prepare and distribute to a public library that provides public access to a 3D printer a notice that would alert users of the 3D printer of the potential liability of the user for misuse of the 3D printer. The notice shall do all of the following:
(A) Provide citations to the applicable state and federal laws that may impose civil liability or criminal penalties for misuse of a 3D printer, including laws regarding copyright infringement and trademark and patent protection.
Katy Perry’s left shark is weeping at the ridiculousness of it all.
First of all, this shows the ridiculous ownership mentality of some, who automatically assume that creating something new must be infringing on someone’s rights somewhere. Second, the idea that government mandated signs are somehow going to alleviate such uses is ridiculous. Beyond the fact that government “warnings” about infringement are routinely mocked (or just widely ignored), this has all the markings of the old red flag laws, in which the government mandated that there needed to be someone waving a red flag walking in front of every automobile. Trying to place restrictions on new technology based on some fantasy possible problems is no way to create a more innovative society and economy. It’s only a way to hinder it.
What’s really unfortunate, is it appears this bill was proposed by Assemblymember Nora Campos — who represents San Jose. In other words, our Copia Inaugural Summit, in which we discussed these exact issues and why people shouldn’t overreact was held in her district. And while Campos was invited to the event, and a number of her colleagues in the California Assembly attended, she did not. Perhaps it would have been helpful to have her come and learn about the actual issues related to intellectual property and 3D printing, rather than pushing out a ridiculous bill like this.
* For unclear reasons, the bill was originally about drones, and was then amended to remove everything drone related and add all the 3D printing stuff. It is unclear why.