from the kicking-the-hornet's-nest dept
A little over a year ago, we wrote about a fascinating paper from Public Knowledge with the splendid title, "It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing, Intellectual Property, and the Fight Over the Next Great Disruptive Technology." It was written by Michael Weinberg, who recently recorded an interview going over much the same ground, if you prefer to listen rather than read. At the heart of both is the concern that once 3D printers become better and cheaper, and people start posting digital blueprints for commercially-available physical objects on the Net, then the manufacturing industries will recapitulate the war on sharing currently being waged by the music and film companies.
The output quality of 3D printers may still leave something to be desired, but the second part of the equation – freely swapping digital blueprints of objects without too much concern for any intellectual monopolies that are infringed upon – just became much easier thanks to The Pirate Bay:
We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.
That's probably true. Whether you will risk prosecution for doing so depends on how the post-SOPA legal landscape turns out.