As harsh as that sounds, rest assured at the very least that the legal implications of 3D printing is going to get way, way thornier before it gets smoother. Under the somewhat deceptive title “The Coolest 3D Printer Projects”, although they eventually get to 10 pretty cool projects, PC Magazine’s article is really a primer on just how difficult the legal landscape is going to be once 3D printing truly hits the masses…or well before, as the case may be:
Today, whether or not a physical object may be copyrighted falls into somewhat of a gray area, Public Knowledge claimed in a recent paper. And those objects also straddle two different definitions: patents cover objects that do things, while copyright covers artistic works. Each has their own legal framework. The situation grows even messier when copyright is asserted against a site like Thingiverse, where design files are shared, allowing other individuals to download and print their own designs. In this case, traditional DMCA takedown notices, such as those applied to music or movies, may not work.
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