Inspired by the Sword Throne Toilet Decal and Game of Thrones Fantasy TV series, Maker mstyle183 designed and made an Iron Throne iPhone 5 dock and printed on a 3D printer. Meanwhile she also posted a step-by-step instruction on how to build the iPhone dock yourself, from modeling, 3D printing to finishing, the whole building process on instructable. The 3D printed iPhone/Android Dock was available for pre-order on her own shop nuproto.com for $49.99.
This tutorial and 3D printed Iron Throne iPhone/Android Dock grabbed the media's attention, as well as HBO's.
On Feb.7 nuproto.com received a takedown notice from HBO, saying the Iron Throne Dock replicates the Iron Throne featured on the series and requesting the company to cease and desist from continuing to produce and offer for sale the product.
As you may know, HBO is the owner of all rights including intellectual property rights in the HBO Original Series "Game of Thrones", as well as elements associated with it, including the copyright in the Iron Throne design. ...
It has come to our attention that you have created and are currently offering for sale an "Iron Throne Dock: which replicates the Iron Throne featured on the Series. While we appreciate the enthusiasm for the Series that appears to have inspired your creation of this device, we also are concerned that your iron throne dock will infringe on HBO's copyright in the Iron Throne, and given the distinctive nature of the Iron Throne, mislead consumers into believing that it is connected with the Series and that it originates with or is sponsored by HBO. ...
HBO asked nuproto.com to take down all the product page online. At this moment, the product is kept on the web page, but it is not for sale. The company's blog updated on Feb.7 saying "HBO declined our offer to license the throne charging station because another company has licensed the idea of a throne charging station. Money will be refunded to those few who bought this product and we apologize if anyone thought this was anything more than inspired fan art work."
This is not the first case that corporations check 3D printed items for copyright infringement. In 2011 Thomas Valenty designed a few of Warhammer-style figurines: a two-legged war mecha and a tank and posted the design on Thingiverse. After finding Valenty's 3D model tanks on Thingiverse, Games Workshop, creator of Warhammer, sent immediately a takedown notice to Thingiverse, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Just like music and videos, as 3D printing becomes simpler, more powerful, and more accessible, brand owners may soon face the challenges associated with the widespread cloning of their products. It will bring conflict and legal battle between users, designers, companies and will catch the eyes of more lawyers and regulators. 3D printing hobbyists have to watch out, that copying design, pattern or making a likeness without permission does violate copyright.
For now most people use 3D printers to print plastic toys. But in the future, when people start printing everything from shoes to spare parts for their vehicles, 3D Printing is about to encounter more and more debate over copyright.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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mlbs wrote at 2/13/2013 9:18:09 PM:
This harkens back to the white paper posted a little while ago on this site about IP vs copyright infringement with 3d printing. Seems to me that this would be considered an IP on a throne which is a derivative of the chair, making it something that is not protectable under IP law since it has an obvious design. I could potentially see them having a legal leg if they tried to press the creator for copyright infringement, but even that seems tricky.
misan wrote at 2/13/2013 1:06:02 PM:
Then the obvious answer is to open source the design, which is not owned by HBO but by the author. That or to move production overseas where they cannot be C&D'd effectively.