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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    mrharrysan (profile), 11 Nov 2010 @ 11:46am

    You know, the naysayers crack me up on this one. 20 yrs ago I used a dot matrix monochrome printer and there was effectively no internet, 20 yrs from now, all you will need is the digital file of the object you want to create and the raw materials. $30K is out of the price range of the ordinary consumer, sure. But the cost of electronics always goes down. My dad paid over $1000 for our first vcr in 1979. So if you can get a vcr now for $40, then in 20 years you should be able to get a very nice 3d printer for under $1000.

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