Toy giant Hasbro has struck a deal with Shapeways to provide access to some of their copyrighted characters.
The deal is not quite what you might want; it provides a “select number of 3D artists” the permission to create “exciting new art and product offerings” based on Hasbro’s “My Little Pony” brand. The project, called “SuperFanArt” will be launched at this year’s Comic Con San Diego.
The problem has been this: whenever someone creates 3D fan art and presents a 3D model to the world, either for a fee or free, it is typically shut down by the brand owner. It may seem like an aggressive move at times, but if companies do not visibly “protect” their brand, it is possible their material becomes de-facto public.
The result is that 3D model repositories across the globe are by and large void of any well-known brands. In a very few cases has such material been offered. One we can recall is 3D Systems’ partnership with a company producing “The Walking Dead” figurines. But the Shapeways deal is more interesting because it means anyone will be able to legally and directly buy 3D prints of major media brand copyrighted material.
We’re expecting Shapeways to develop further partnerships with media companies in the future that will eventually expand the availability of 3D models. That is, if this initial experiment is successful.
So go buy some!