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. identicon
    James, 11 Nov 2010 @ 10:11am

    This is silly

    This just seems silly.
    3-D printing are used alot in the plastics/molding industries. They are excellent for making PROTOTYPE parts. To check designs before tooling.
    I don't see this hurting any consumer product industry. Even though the tech is getting better, it take a long time to "print", size is a big issue and the finished product is of relativly poor quality.
    It also requires someone with more than a cd/dvd drive, the information to send to the printer needs to come from a 3-D CAD file. Which require a products to be reverse engineered...
    So, in short my industry (engineering/manufacturing) is embracing this technology, which provides for the same industries that you say will object to this. Madness.

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