Aug.18, 2013

Digital artist Joaquin Baldwin's 3D printed full set of Final Fantasy VII characters became popular on Reddit and Shapeways until copyright owner Japan-based games publisher Square Enix found it and decided to take legal action to prevent further figure sales.

Baldwin told CNET the set had been available for barely more than a month. "I posted the full new set of secondary characters two days ago, when I guess I exploded the Internet." said Joaquin Baldwin.

Square Enix sent a takedown notice to Shapeways. Shapeways in turn immediately complied and Baldwin began offering refunds to buyers whose orders were still in processing.

"Standard procedure," Baldwin said, "just like a video in YouTube using copyrighted music can be pulled down." It all happened very fast, he said. "I only made that whole set recently, and I posted the full new set of secondary characters two days ago, when I guess I exploded the Internet."

Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen told CNET in a statement. "In order to comply with the DMCA and protect intellectual property right owners, we follow a strict takedown process as explained in our Content policy."

3D printing is in its early stages and many of the legal issues that will likely arise have not yet been imagined. 3D printing could trigger intellectual property wars, legal expert says.

It is certainly a huge disappointment for fans who loved the low-res style of Baldwin's series, but Baldwin admits he never contacted Square Enix about licensing the designs or to obtain their authorization. On the other hand Sqaure Enix has its own line of action figure set on the market but are expensive.

Baldwin was selling his figurines for anywhere from $14 to $30 and but he declined to tell how many were sold.

Baldwin said he hasn't considered reaching out to Square Enix about a possible partnership. "It'd be cool, but them being such a big company, I don't think it would work out. I'm not a businessman in that sense -- just a fan," he said.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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sergevi wrote at 8/18/2013 11:23:44 PM:

it was clearly selling non authorised copies. 3d printing or not :) I read already the titles in the news : "see, 3d printing is bad, first intellectual property problems, other will come" reminds me beginning of colour printing and people thinking we could print $$$

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