Mar 31, 2016 | By Andre

Digital Rights Management, or DRM for short, are tools made available to digital rights holders to protect their works. Throughout the years, all manner of video, audio and text available for purchase and digital consumption have played with DRM to protect their intellectual property.

Efforts in DRM are now being pushed forward in the 3D printing space thanks in part to Korean DRM and Watermarking company MarkAny. Originally announced in the summer of 2015, the company hopes to create what they call a 3D printing contents clearing center.

Their system is designed to detect violating files and, as they put it, “protect the output of 3D printing processes, such as 3D printing design, STL generation, G-Code conversion, and actual printing.” Additionally, they also want to implement a monitoring system that watches illegal distribution of protected 3D print files.

Based on the newly released video presentation above, they certainly do seem serious about their efforts. As they explain, MarkAny’s 3D SAFER system uses a number of technologies to keep intellectual property safe from piracy and to track leakages when they do occur. Among these technologies are DRM, which performs encryption to help protect intellectual property rights; Feature Extraction, which is capable of extracting information from a particular design and examining it against other similar designs to better prevent piracy; Digital Forensics, a feature which essentially watermarks digital designs and can track ownership information if a leak does occur; and a terahertz (THz) scan, which uses electromagnetic waves to verify the authenticity of a 3D designs’ internal structure and pattern.

Choi Jong-uk, MarkAny CEO has stated that “the violations of 3D printing contents’ intellectual property rights are growing in overseas market, where the 3D printing industry is already promoted and a new type of businesses using the technology are emerging.” To prevent rampant 3D print file piracy, he adds “it is necessary to come up with relevant laws and system to give momentum to the 3D printing industry of Korea, however, technical measures to establish a sound distribution environment for a safer utilization of more contents should be made.”

I myself have benefited from the creative commons mindset often held in the 3D print-heavy Maker and Thingiverse file-sharing communities. The notion that information wants to be free resonates with me to the core but at the same time I understand the desire for protection.

Regardless of your position on the always controversial topic, there will always be someone looking to build a better lock and another someone looking for a better pick. As a a company with upwards of 50 million in annual revenue, MarkAny has a strong track record in protecting content, so they’re a perfect candidate to want to break into the 3D printer space before it gets too crowded.

Whether or not they’ll succeed in their efforts depends on how much the 3D printing market demands it, and of course how secure their DRM protection algorithms end up being.

What do you think? Will DRM succeed in 3D printing? Is it even necessary? Feel free to add your thoughts below.



Posted in 3D Technology



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Matt wrote at 8/27/2016 1:24:48 AM:

If it's like their other DMR software, watch out. Their other software inserts a watermark into all your suspected media files, no matter if you made them or were given them, no matter if you want it or not. It tags your photos, audio, video, etc, and corrupts their integrity. There's even been suggested cases of it watermarking system files and corrupting them.

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