Your Limited Right To Copy In 3D
By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The technology of a 3d printer is as fathomable as was the flux capacitor in Back to the Future.
In 1994 when NBC rolled out its new-fangled technology, the email address, hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel discussed it on the air and didn’t even know how mail could be delivered electronically. Now we wonder how we can make it stop. Today, we may be on the precipice of the next world changing technology, the 3d printer that allows a person to copy a product in three demesions by layering plastic filament and melding it.
First, users of the technology have already begun to tell stories of fabricating prosthetic limbs in a weekend. And, as technology emerges, the law is slow to follow but lawsuits do catch up.
If you should use a 3d printer, consider the object you are copying and protect yourself proactively from companies that will argue that you owe them money for your copy – like the recording industry association of America has done with the copying of music.
Ask yourself, am I using this 3d printer to get something that I would otherwise have to pay for, and then consider paying for it instead. And don’t sell objects to others that you copied but didn’t originally create.
It’s too early to know what issues the technology would create, but when you use it, consider the rights of people whose work you are copying before deciding your course of conduct.