Getting Ready For When The Industry Tries To Kill 3D Printers

from the replicators-redux dept

Back in 2003, we noted that once 3D printing came around, just imagine how crazy various industries would go once 3D printing became commonplace, and people could "file share" the printer instructions for various physical products. If you think the RIAA's madness is bad, just imagine how insane things would get when you had actual "replicators" everywhere. In the intervening years, of course, 3D printing has matured quite a bit, and many are realizing that such a theoretical suggestion from years back is actually a pretty serious concern. Public Knowledge has put out a paper trying to warn the world of the impending political madness that will come down as 3D printing becomes more common -- and we start hearing stories about "pirated" physical goods. While I'm glad to see a group like PK sounding the warning bells now, I doubt it will change anything.

I used to hope that in spending over a decade explaining how the music industry could have responded better to file sharing, that other industries wouldn't go down the same path. Yet, what we've seen over and over and over again is that every new industry that faces disruptive innovation involving a previously scarce product suddenly becoming an infinite good -- and that they pretty much all react the same. They try to prevent the inevitable. They try to fight the technology. They go against consumer wishes. They try to protect the old business models. They invent moral panics and bogus statistics. And, of course, they throw a ton of money at politicians to make laws that preserve their old business models. It's happened plenty of times in the past, and it will definitely happen once 3D printing technology reaches that tipping point.

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  1. icon
    ChronoFish (profile), 11 Nov 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Interesting

    "...But, rather than looking at the damage it would do to the existing economic order, look at the business opportunities generated by it. Today there are many thousands of people who make a living creating 3D models and doing texturing for them. (Mostly for places like MVU, where you can sell meshes and skins for 3d avatars) While some jobs would be lost in other sectors, the 3d modeler and "skinner" sectors would boom...."

    It's an excellent point. However it ignore advances. And the field is advancing quickly. $100K-$1M for a quality 3d printer 10-15 years ago. $60K for one 5 years ago. $30K for a high-end/small business" today. $15K for low-end business/high end hobbyist today.

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