In the last few days everybody is buzzing about the fact that copyright issues will hit 3DPrinting pretty soon (actually it has already hit 3DPrinting!)…
I find that the whole issue is going to be obsolete and I will illustrate by example what I mean:
Take the recent trip of Makerbot to the Met … A lot of statues have been scanned and put up on the thingiverse website… Now people could complain about this, but hours after the designs were posted, people started replacing heads, fusing multiple scans into new designs and all kinds of wonderful stuff … Now the Met can complain that people will not visit to see the originals anymore and that they will lose revenue, but this is more like the images of the Mona Lisa by the Louvre: it creates a whole new level of interest into the original work and gives people the freedom to experiment with the masterpieces themselves.
So now take this out of the ancient artifacts context and into say a movies context: would it hurt if somebody posted the carbonite print of Han Solo on the internet? Or would that create opportunities to pose different models in carbonite? What if Han Solo pulled a funny face a Darth just before the carbonite hit? Maybe they could have optimized the carbonite, by stacking in some extra ewoks into the empty space… What about the Lego Starwars Hansolo?
The first case of DCMA take down in thingiverse was about the Super8 cubes. Now that was a missed opportunity to put designs online and allow kids to create their own cubes… Which could have made the cubes into a cool customized lego version for Super8, but rather than that the lawyers stuck to defending the turf and leave it barren.
The issue of copyright will be obsolete because nobody will want to bother printing the standardized objects that they can buy off the shelf for cheaper (minus the overhead charge of the “enterprise” a.k.a. lawyers). People will want to customize the designs they print and tweak them to make something funny or personal. So when it is no longer Han Solo in carbonite, but Bre Pettis holding a makerbot does this still infringe on the StarWars copyright? How about the StarWars StormTrooper Helmet?
I would like to see how somebody is going to copyright every iteration of a generative design? And what is the value of my user-input into a generative model? Did the model maker create the design or was it me, who inputted the parameters that made this one specific object?