For several years now we've written about the legal and ethical complications that might occur when 3D printing tech enters the consumer realm. There is no shortage of pathological situations that might arise, be they related to copyright, patents or other regulatory regimes - all of which were designed for prior eras that didn't include a technology enabling anyone to potentially make anything.
There is a growing fear among leading 3D printing thinkers, companies and services that misguided regulations or misapplication of existing inadequate rules could severely hamper the deployment of 3D printing tech to the consumer space. Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge wrote a paper dedicated to this thought, and its title sums up the scenario we find ourselves in quite correctly: "It Will Be Awesome If They Don't Screw It Up".
But how can we avoid a screw up? One major step to avoid it is taking place in Washington DC on April 28th: 3D/DC. Major players in the 3D Printing space will assemble and attempt to inform DC policymakers on our new technology and what it means. Hopefully this event will influence policy direction towards a world enabled for replication by providing proper information on 3D printing tech in an appropriate context.
Attending, demonstrating and presenting at the event: 3D Systems, ExOne, Fab@Home, MakerBot, Makergear, Shapeways, The Association for Manufacturing Technology, CloudFab, Interactive Fabrication/Computational Design Lab, Metrix Create:Space, Rael San Fratello Architects, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and ZCorp.
We're hoping this event proves to be *the* turning point for technology enablement. We've seen screw ups in the music and motion picture industries; please, let's not do it again.