I don’t get the concern here. 3D printing files are essentially CNC files, they are not any kind of “special” files. In some 30 years of CNC use I haven’t seen a “Napster” for CNC files yet, have you? Despite some of them describing production operations of some expensive parts.
Additionally, it’s a bit too late to get your panties in a bunch over (illegal) 3D model sharing – 3D models as well as any kind of file imaginable are probably shared just as much as any other file type over peer-to-peer connections and have been for ages now (10 years easily). Perhaps not specifically for 3D printing but for 3D rendering.
There’s already a “Napster” or “Napsters” for legal 3D file sharing – Thingiverse obviously and Shapeways list of publicly shared models. What exactly should “illegal” 3D printer “Napster” do to justify the wrath of the “3D manufacturing lobby” – a comment made tongue in cheek, obviously because 3D manufacturing has not and will not have a clout strong enough and unified enough to create a lobby anywhere close to that MPAA was able to field. Besides, profits in 3D printing/manufacturing are nowhere near ones that provide (comfortable) livelihood for the army of MPAA lawyers. I don’t see 3D printing DRM materialize anywhere in the foreseen future.
So, I call the concept of 3D printing piracy a “manufactured controversy”
Buy it in a store, laser-scan it at home, upload it to the web, print it anywhere. 3D printing is poised for the mainstream, but what happens when one person’s finely hand-crafted designs can be pirated and reproduced by anyone? Will 3D-printing-piracy social networks arise? And how will manufacturers lobby to stop them?
The ideas came out of my conversation at TechCrunch Disrupt NY with Alex Winter, director of the new documentary about Napster called “Downloaded”. While The Economist pondered these questions last year, and The Pirate Bay has coined the term “physibles” for 3D-printed objects, Winter takes the next step. He suggests a Napster for 3D printing models is inevitable.
I believe it. The way the music industry was unprepared for the mp3 revolution, the manufacturing industry seems similarly behind the curve. It might even be worse off. At least the record companies had the…
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