Aug.27, 2013

Last year designer Fernando Sosa's company received a takedown notice from HBO, saying their 3D printable 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. Sosa complied and issued refunds.

Legal experts warn of a rising tide in copyright fights as 3D printing gets cheaper. ""We're at the tipping point. If you're a manufacturer and people start making their own replacement parts, what does that mean?" asked Darrell Mottley, a patent and trademark attorney in Washington.

Fortunately some startups have already been developing software to protect designs distributed on 3-D printing sites. One of them is Mountain View, California-based Authentise. "We make it easy for you to send your 3D Design to friends & customers for one-time print. They never see the full design. We stream it directly into their printer, ensuring you always stay in control of your work." writes the company. ""You don't receive the raw design file," says Andre Wegner, cofounder and CEO of the company, "so you can't copy and share it."

Authentise was founded in 2012 at Singularity University. Most of the founders are Singularity University Graduate Studies Programme alumni.

Authentise's first product,, which provides a simple way to safely print 3D designs on remote printers without sharing base designs is set to launch in October.

Authentise's approach is to stream instructions directly to 3-D printers about how to squirt out material. To receive it a person will have to download a software program that receives the streamed design. Once the process is done, the instructions are instantly discarded. So the person gets only the print but not the original design file.

"Authentise provides innovative streaming technology for 3D printing, including remote production monitoring software, advanced watermarking and crowd sourced settings to enable this vision." The startup introduces itself.

Michael Weinberg, a staff attorney at Public Knowledge as well as an expert on intellectual property issues related to 3D printing technology, told MIT Technology Review that there will likely be a market for Authentise's technology, however, it will have to be implemented carefully. He pointed to the music industry's failed attempts to rein in file sharing by embedding copy protection, or DRM, into music files. "Major music download services no longer use such technology."

According to Weinberg, intellectual property laws affecting 3-D designs and physical objects are much more complex than those involved in unauthorized copying of music and movies.

While media files, as "creative works," are unambiguously protected by copyright laws, "useful objects" have traditionally been exempt from copyright protection, and when a 3-D design can be copyrighted is something of a copyright gray area. But such uncertainty is unlikely to prevent companies from trying to use copyright to assert themselves, says Weinberg. "If you would like to control the use of something, finding a way to get copyright on it is a very attractive thing to do."


Posted in 3D Software



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MichaelAtOz wrote at 8/28/2013 2:20:38 AM:

and BTW, it would be trivial for firmware to drop a copy of the g-code out another serial interface...

MichaelAtOz wrote at 8/28/2013 2:17:48 AM:

"We're at the tipping point. If you're a manufacturer and people start making their own replacement parts, what does that mean?" asked Darrell Mottley, a patent and trademark attorney in Washington Compatible parts of useful objects are not intellectual property, if someone designs a copy, or even scans one, it is totally legal, from what I have read.

Andre wrote at 8/27/2013 10:45:26 PM:

Piet. Thanks for the comment. That was an oversight - the text was there but somehow it didnt make it in to the comments. Now corrected. Thanks for the heads up. Also, whoever wrote this article: Happy to talk to you any time. Just tweet us. We don't bite. Andre

Andre wrote at 8/27/2013 7:01:17 PM:

Thanks for pointing that out piet - we will change ASAP! Thought it had been saved in the comments, but obviously not.

Ben wrote at 8/27/2013 6:21:22 PM:

hmmm very cool. I hope it has some form of "resubmit job" option that allows you to print again if something goes wrong before 60% completion. Of course that does not stop people from scanning content and selling it again but at least that can be given a take down order.

Klatu Barada wrote at 8/27/2013 4:16:56 PM:

program that slow progres to use with machines that pushes humanity forward. why do make rights which u dont have to obey. there r no laws of nature which u cant obey, why dont live by them.

piet wrote at 8/27/2013 2:26:13 PM:

wonderfull plan, shame that the Video uses 3 other video's without providing Copyright links or credits those other video's.

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