A recent legal controversy involving 3D printing has risen to become one of CNN’s top news stories.
This is a bit of a shock for us, as 3D printing had previously hit mainstream media only as a kind of novelty item, with headlines such as “Print Your Own Doorknobs”, “Amazing 3D Printed Pizza”, or “You Can 3D Print a Gun!!!” and the like. Now CNN has a “real” story involving 3D printing, and it’s a good one, too.
The story revolves around designer Fernando Sosa’s controversial 3D model of the famous “Left Shark”, which debuted at the 2015 Super Bowl. Sosa created a terrific 3D model of the fishy character and placed it for sale on Shapeways.
Shortly thereafter Katy Perry’s legal team issued a cease and desist order to remove “their” character from the popular 3D print service. Shapeways complied, but Sosa then posted the model on Thingiverse for everyone to use.
Now Sosa is fighting back by hiring his own legal team, hoping to eliminate “this lawyer crap”. He and team may have a case, as the shark could be interpreted as merely a costume, which offers less legal protection.
It’s an interesting case, to be sure and we’ll be following it closely. But we think the far bigger story here is simply that the most massive media is now talking about 3D printing issues. Not “3D printing”, but “3D printing issues”. They don’t even mention “3D printing” in the piece’s title!
As many Fabbaloo readers will know, there are numerous issues implied by the widespread availability of 3D printing technology. Many are legal issues, such as this one, and each must be discovered and resolved.
One step at a time, we will get to the future.