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Wired On 3-D Printers As Fraud Enablers 207

An anonymous reader writes Citing a report from the Gartner Group estimating $100 billion in intellectual property losses within five years, Joshua Greenbaum warns of "the threat of a major surge in counterfeiting" as cheap 3-D printers get more sophisticated materials. Writing for Wired, Greenbaum argues that preventing counterfeiting "promises to be a growth market," and suggests that besides updating IP laws, possible solutions include nanomaterials for "watermarking" authentic copies or even the regulation of 3-D printing materials. Major retailers like Amazon are already offering 3-D print-on-demand products — though right now their selection is mostly limited to novelties like customized bobbleheads and Christmas ornaments shaped like cannabis leaves. Apropos: Smithonian Magazine has an article that makes a good companion piece to this one on the long political history of the copy machine, which raised many of the same issues being rediscovered in the context of 3-D printing.
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Wired On 3-D Printers As Fraud Enablers

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  • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:30AM (#49100479)

    For software, generally speaking the copy is exactly the same as the original. No one collects software (only their medium), and its unlimited.

    Even with 3d printers, objects are limited (you can't copy them indefinitely, you'll run out of material), and right now at least, until star trek replicators happen, they're not the same as the original (unless the original was 3d printed too i guess). There can be difference in qualities, and the originals may be collectibles... just like a painting can be replicated, but its the original that's worth something.

    So being able to tell the originals from the copies apart kind of matters this time around.

    • by BlueTrin ( 683373 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:42AM (#49100537) Homepage Journal
      I have talked to a tourist in London who admitted to me that he is travelling to London to copy art pieces. This person would take pictures of art in multiple directions and send it to manufacturers in China who would use the picture to build a 3d model and use a 3d printer to make a mold. From the mold you could produce cheap replicas for hotels and offices for people who would not mind too much. You do not have to 3d print everything just make molds. Of course this limits the use of such techniques. I was a bit surprised that the person would tell so much to a random stranger.
      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        I was a bit surprised that the person would tell so much to a random stranger.

        Why? Do you think some random stranger was going to report them to the Imaginary Property Police?

        I doubt you'll find one random stranger in a thousand who thinks there's anything wrong with what this guy is doing, and they probably work for the Imaginary Property industry.

      • This is what a 'disruptive technology' does. The 'market' changes as it becomes easier and cheaper to produce 'almost as good' stuff. If I'm changing $10 for something, a significant portion of my customers are only paying $10 because they have no other choice. If someone else starts producing what I make for $5...it's simply the market changing and I have to adapt or pretend the market hasn't changed and sue everyone (while spending even more money on not making my product).
        • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @01:30PM (#49101393)

          I have to adapt or pretend the market hasn't changed and sue everyone (while spending even more money on not making my product).

          Or you can pay the government to pass a law banning the cheap alternatives because 'public safety!', which is usually much cheaper. This is exactly what's likely to happen with, say, people printing new car parts on a 3D printer. Clearly that's a risk to 'public safety!' because those parts haven't been tested like the real parts. And as for printing complete cars that haven't been crash-tested and may not meet CAFE standards...

          • I'd guess there are already laws (and liability) for using non-certified parts in critical areas.

            There was a contractor who was making highway guard rails who decided to go cheap and changed the design without permission linky [dot.gov] and another case linky [thelambertfirm.com]
          • I for one am completely ok with 3D printed parts needing to meet the same safety standards required for their non-printed equivalents. The last thing I need is to take a tire to the face because some bozo with no relevant engineering background decided to stick it to the man by making a new axle for his car on a jumbo sized RepRap. That said, there could be safety standards for home-printed parts along the lines of "this geometry printed using XYZ materials on a printer meeting these minimum specifications
            • That said, there could be safety standards for home-printed parts along the lines of "this geometry printed using XYZ materials on a printer meeting these minimum specifications is equivalent to the original part",

              How does this allow *someone* to maintain a monopolistic price advantage? Dude, ur anti-american.

      • by burne ( 686114 )

        I was a bit surprised that the person would tell so much to a random stranger.

        Tell me, how much can you make with an unauthorised 1:1 copy of Saint Pauls Cathedral or Buckingham Palace?

        Do you have room for either one in your garden?

    • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @11:01AM (#49100597)

      There can be difference in qualities, and the originals may be collectibles...

      I don't think people are seriously worried about someone scanning some priceless marble figurine, printing a copy and selling it for $100,000,000 to some very stupid collector who doesn't notice that it is made rather roughly from plastic.

      They're more worried about someone scanning a $20 Popular Cartoon Character(R)(C)(TM) doll and printing a copy for their sprog, without the House of Mouse receiving their rightful tithe under the 2016 "lets keep Mickey copyrighted forever" act.

      • Or course. I've got a 3D printer and the kids love it. You don't have to look far to find models of popular toys, and they can be envy of the other kids at school if they're the only ones with glow-in-the-dark Minecraft Creepers (glow in the dark filament is pretty cool!)

        Just another case of technology running ahead of the existing rules.

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      For software, generally speaking the copy is exactly the same as the original. No one collects software (only their medium), and its unlimited.

      I have known people in the warez scene who would beg to differ with you. They seemed to have pride in how many cracked software titles they had, regardless of whether or not they actually had any use for them.

      • Perhaps they do. They also aren't a good measure of the entire market.

        How many people prided themselves on how many albums or CDs or DVDs they had? How many of them now just use Netflix and Pandora/Spotify/etc.?

        We craved having lots of media because there wasn't a way to easily get it otherwise. Now, nobody has to buy (or copy) 1000s of sources to be able to consume those sources.
    • For software, generally speaking the copy is exactly the same as the original. No one collects software (only their medium), and its unlimited.

      Even with 3d printers, objects are limited (you can't copy them indefinitely, you'll run out of material), and right now at least, until star trek replicators happen, they're not the same as the original (unless the original was 3d printed too i guess). There can be difference in qualities, and the originals may be collectibles... just like a painting can be replicated, but its the original that's worth something.

      So being able to tell the originals from the copies apart kind of matters this time around.

      No it's not. If I can copy the thing you're selling with a few clicks of a keyboard, you don't really have a product. I fully support inventors getting rewarded for their work, but that's NOT what the patent system does.

      • by Shados ( 741919 )

        My point wasn't about devices/patents, but pieces of art/copyrights (ie: miniatures). Its pretty damn easy to copy it after the artist did the original design/color/etc and someone made the matching 3d model.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @03:21PM (#49101889)

      Who will fear this the most is companies who charge outrageous prices for cheap plastic parts. I.e. exactly those parts that can easily and cheaply be reproduced with 3D printing. Just like with printer ink and coffee maker capsules there are various areas where cross financing the product with insanely pricey spare parts is the norm rather than the exception. It's easy to pull off, too. Invent something where a plastic part is a key element to operation, that plastic part is consumer serviceable (that part is optional), trivial to make and weighed down with enough patents that nobody dares making something even similar. And of course, being plastic, it's subject to wear and tear and has to be replaced now and then. In such a situation, it becomes trivial to sell the appliance cheaply, even under cost, as long as you know that people will have to buy that plastic thingamajig again and again.

      That only works as long as there is no cheaper option for the user, of course.

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:36AM (#49100503)

    Who cares if somebody rips off somebody else's cellphone case design?

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      I'm more worried about collectibles. Its niche, but a niche a lot of people on this board probably feel for. Its bad enough with figures and stuff, trying not to get ripped off at conventions or online... Soon it will be rampant.

      That said, the vast majority of use will probably be for commodities anyway... Whoops, all my forks are in the dishwasher, time to 3d print one (when the printers get fast enough to make stuff in a pinch)

      • Already rampant.

        I know a dude in Oregon who makes 'antique' collectible racist black characters. Good supply of hardwood and he's set for life.

        People _want_ to spend money so they can brag about it.

      • Knock offs INCREASE the market for collectables. Take the fashion industry as a perfect example - and they don't have any copyright/patent protections. People buy knock offs until they can afford the real thing.
    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      I wouldn't care that it was ripped off, but I would care about the difference in quality.

    • Who cares if somebody rips off somebody else's cellphone case design?

      Despite what people think I have only seen one cellphone case come out of a 3D printer. On the flip side I've printed Dremel accessories for 1/20th of the cost of the original part. I've replaced the index pin on a coffee grinder for 1/50th of the cost of the original part.

      I hope the 3D printing revolution will put an end to ludicrously overpriced vendor spares.

  • Piracy. (Score:4, Funny)

    by chris200x9 ( 2591231 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:41AM (#49100525)
    I'm just looking forward to downloading a car.
  • Obviously there will be a political response we'd kind of expect, restrictions of various sorts to limit materials, printers, exchange of designs someone owns the IP to, etc.

    I'm more curious what the organic market response will be.

    For items that could conceivably be 3D printed, will manufacturers sell 3D plans? Make a better product that can't be 3D printed with the same quality or materials?

    • Why make anything better when you can patent it and sue everyone who makes it better and cheaper?

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:53AM (#49100563) Journal

    The part being copied would have to be something that is unavailable otherwise and/or very costly to be worth the time/effort to counterfeit it with a 3D printer. It would have to be something for which the market is very small but very willing to pay, because if the market were large, 3D printing wouldn't make sense- you'd fabricate the counterfeit in a way that's more cost effective for producing large quantities (and would probably give a higher quality result).

    Maybe parts for exotic sports cars? But who isn't going to inspect and quickly know they're looking at a fake? What exotic sports car mechanic is going to risk his reputation by buying and installing counterfeit parts?

    Jewelry? Too much scrutiny applied there, too.

    Nope. Anything that costs a lot is going to be scrutinized. Anything that doesn't cost a lot isn't worth counterfeiting, especially not with a 3D printer.

    • Actually There is an exotic mechanic just outside of Bangkok whose specialty is making "Fauxrari" and "Lambaux" and any other exotic you want, under the hood they are Toyota and Mazda pumped up ricer motors. Considering his builds run between $65k-$80k they are for the semi-rich in third world countries to look like they have more money than they really do. Rumor has it most of Saddam's later rides were made by this guy, who brags his vehicles are safer while being lighter as he makes his panels out of carbon fiber from casts of the real parts.

      Sorry I can't seem to find a link, I read it in a magazine,Wired IIRC. Of course even if I found photos it would look just like the real thing as the Wired article had him posing by some of his builds and his attention to detail was just incredible, I bet if you parked the real 65 Ferrari next to his you wouldn't know which is which by merely looking.

    • The part being copied would have to be something that is unavailable otherwise and/or very costly to be worth the time/effort to counterfeit it with a 3D printer.

      Spare parts and specialty tools. I constantly find myself needing some weirdly shaped piece of plastic that's impossible to find anywhere.

      Jewelry? Too much scrutiny applied there, too.

      You do realize some people wear jewelry as ornamentation, and thus don't care if it has the right density of defects visible only when viewed with an electron micro

      • You do realize some people wear jewelry as ornamentation, and thus don't care if it has the right density of defects visible only when viewed with an electron microscope?

        Shhh! De Beers is listening.

    • unavailable otherwise and/or very costly to be worth the time/effort to counterfeit it with a 3D printer.

      So pretty much every vendor optional extra part ever? I've "pirated" a physical object before. It was a Dremel accessory. It was either pay $50 for it or jump on thingiverse and grab the model and hit print. A few hours later and $2 worth of plastic and I was off with my accessory. Mind you the 3D printer just enabled speed. Given the time I would probably have found a properly priced equivalent from China.

      Maybe parts for exotic sports cars? But who isn't going to inspect and quickly know they're looking at a fake? What exotic sports car mechanic is going to risk his reputation by buying and installing counterfeit parts?

      I have a funny story here. My father's GM convertible had a latch where where the roof connected which

  • IP law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquar ... SD.com minus bsd> on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:54AM (#49100567) Homepage Journal

    is supposed to be about rewarding innovators

    IP law has been corrupted to reward entrenched economic interests

    as such, IP law needs to be ignored and/ or actively sabotaged at every available opportunity

    IP law is anticompetitive monopolistic nonsense

    it is the largest point of corruption where oligarchs have warped the government to enforce their position rather than enforce fairness

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

    we must do everything we can to make a mockery of IP law

    • Re:IP law (Score:4, Informative)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @02:06PM (#49101531)
      Actually it's suppose to be about not losing knowledge. It's not a reward. It's a social contract. You agree to make your knowledge available for all to use with only limited restrictions and in return we grant you a limited time monopoly. This way knowledge doesn't get locked up behind a guild system. When all this stuff was created guilds were still active and fresh in people's minds...
      • right, but the original intent has been fatally warped to have the opposite effect. now the guilds just sue everyone who tries to use "their" knowledge. the solution to the problem has been turned around to worsen the original problem

  • You can make whatever you want, for yourself.

  • by golodh ( 893453 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @10:59AM (#49100587)
    one that protects non-commercial printing of spare parts or widgets for home use as "fair use".

    I mean ... I've experienced a few times when a $50 - $200 appliance didn't work anymore because a $0.005 piece of plastic broke.

    If the appliance is still under warranty, you can take up the cudgels and have it repaired or replaced. If it's out of warranty, you *might* be able to have it repaired, only to find that repairs typically cost between 50% and 150% of the purchase price.

    What could be more reasonable to suspend legal restrictions barring you from 3D-printing that widget (if at all possible)?

    As far as I know, it's very very rare that such a widget is of such clever design that you freeload on someone's hard work. What I think is the case (on basis of a thoroughly non-scientific survey, sample-size 6, personal observation) is that any ingenuity in the design is spent in making sure the widget in question can't be second-sourced without infringing on some sort of patent. E.g. by adding a special notch, a special hole, or simply making the dimensions so that the widget is unlike any other on the planet (and any other widgets won't fit).

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      But if you could print a replacement for that cheap plastic part that breaks every couple of years so you have to go out and spend $100 on replacing the entire Widget, the Widget-makers would go out of business!

    • one that protects non-commercial printing of spare parts or widgets for home use as "fair use".

      Funny that you say this. This is part of existing IP law. If it's not commercial, it is not infringing. Plain and simple.

      This won't keep some crooks from using MAFIAA techniques, but they have no legal base to stand on.

  • The copy machines did not drag us into the pit when they became common place. 3D printing is not a hazard at all with one exception. 3D printing will be a huge force in altering society in radical ways. The construction industry will be almost exterminated by 3D printing. Factory work will be vastly limited by this technology. BMW apparently already has a carbon fiber frame arriving on some of its cars and one can well imagine most of a car being created by 3D printing and robotic assembly.
    • Re:We Survived (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @11:49AM (#49100841) Homepage

      Where do you come up with this silly stuff? Sure, you could 'print' a boat. A 3D printer capable of printing a, say 22 foot sport boat would likely be 15 feet tall, 30 feet long and take spools of material that have to be trucked in. As opposed to a fiberglass layup mold that's 10 feet tall and 25 feet long (and can be built using a bunch of plywood, a pencil and a decent CAD-CAM program). Neither is going to be put together by the folks down the street trying to make a 'cheap' boat.

      Nobody is going to print out BMWs carbon fiber chassis for the same reason.

      Maybe little stuff, maybe something as complex as a shoe (although not for a while, your typical plastic shoe has dozens of different types of materials in it).
      Further, the world of manufacturing is quite a bit more complex than the actual production of the widget. You have to put the widget into a form that is useful (add the engine, the windows, the electronics, etc for the boat, the rest of the car. You cannot and will not be able to print everything.

      3D printing for the vast majority of applications will be evolutionary - where it fits, it will be used. But it isn't going to be a revolution in how we obtain stuff.

      Unless, of course, your life revolves around Star Wars figurines or anatomically correct models of Bruce Jenner (however that's supposed to work out).

      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        1. Designs change to match production ability. If you can't print a boat in one piece, you print it in multiple pieces and fit them together. Just like you didn't make a wooden galleon out of one tree trunk. My guess is that future 3D-printed boats will look very little like current designs.

        2. You don't need the printer in your garage, you design the boat on your computer, then email the design to your local print shop to print out the parts for you. Unless the Imaginary Property Barons managed to get in th

    • This is beginning to sound eerily reminiscent of the claims made regarding hemp. Let's dial it back a notch or two, shall we?
    • 3D printing is always going to be more expensive than conventional approaches for mass production. It has niches when you need lots of unique items (medical applications, like making dentures perfect for each individual mouth), when you want to customise items (Get a unique model of your game avatar) and when you need to print parts but don't know in advance what you'll need (Repairs).

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mad Quacker ( 3327 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @11:04AM (#49100619) Homepage

    Enhancing the collective wealth of humanity without giving captains of industry their cut will henceforth be known as "fraud"

  • nothing new (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @11:12AM (#49100667)

    Every time a new technology come along some people freak out and the end of life as we know it is threatened. Sometimes the naysayers have a point even, but for the most part life is better. Buggy whip and wagon makers are not the viable career they once were, but look at how many people have jobs manufacturing cars. Not to mention how society has advanced due to motorized vehicles.

    Computers supplanted type writers, and all kinds of other stuff. When I was younger copy machines were a similar threat. And color copiers were used to counterfeit currency. I think it wasn't until inkjet printers got really good that the US government started adding elaborate anti-counterfeit features to paper money.

    3-D printers are no different. As technology advances, what was once considered valuable becomes out dated and losses it's value as something different replaces it. Aluminum was once more valuable than gold as refining it was very difficult. This is no longer the case. Aluminum has become commonplace, and we're all benefiting because of it. Times change, as does what is considered valuable.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Saturday February 21, 2015 @11:14AM (#49100675) Homepage Journal
    Gartner gives the numbers the group contracting the study want.
  • ip (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday February 21, 2015 @11:40AM (#49100795)

    "...estimating $100 billion in intellectual property losses ..."

    There's your problem, right there. There is no such thing.

  • Electronic copying has made music and video copyrights almost meaningless - anybody can download just about anything. 3D printing will make patents on simple mechanical objects equally meaningless. If I need a new kitchen widget or a new plastic doohickey, why not just print one? There ought to be endless online libraries, provided by manufacturers or created by end users.

    Of course, industry will fight this tooth and nail. Patenting differently-shaped measuring spoons or the plastic feet on a chair may make

  • Falls squarely under "who cares"

    I'm sorry your little scarcity business model is broken, BOO HOO.

    The best thing for society as a whole is that 3D printers get so cheap that the average consumer can print just about anything they want or need for about the same price as a manufacturer. All this "income inequality" political nonsense can be finally put to bed.

    "He has 10 Ferraris while I only have 9" doesn't ring as loudly from the whiners in the society as "he has a billion dollars, while I only have f

  • Not just printers5 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @12:03PM (#49100895) Homepage Journal

    ANYthing that reduces costs, enhances productivity, or makes life easier is a "fraud enabler."

  • I recall... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OldSport ( 2677879 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @01:08PM (#49101273)

    ...an inspiring piece on NPR I hear a while back, about a little boy or girl who'd lost his or her hand or finger or some other limb, and instead of being forced to spend $20,000 on some traditional prosthesis, was able to 3D-print the prosthesis for something like $20. Even better was that since the kid was growing, the required parts could be reprinted with ease to match his/her development. It was really inspiring and there are probably hundreds of millions of people around the world who could benefit from such tech -- I mean, *actually* benefit, because they can actually *afford* it.

    Now, when I read articles like this and statements about "100 billion dollar IP losses" all I can think of is, fuck, are we really going to let intellectual property law squash the awesome potential for advances 3D printing gives us across a wide range of applications? I can only hope that there will be a significant movement of "open-source' designers who allow their product templates to be downloaded and printer for free, but the pessimist in me sees this as another opportunity for patent trolls and megacorporations to fuck everyone over and profit in the process.

    Sorry for the slightly "jaded teenager" esque post, but anyway.

  • These guys are all worried about people pirating their appliances and manufactured goods. But really most of what they make isn't that innovative. I mean, an open source refrigerator isn't going to work any worse then theirs really.

    This guy is talking like anyone gives a crap if they use THEIR design. But who really does actually care? Imagine all the things you own and imagine they were all things that came out of 3d printers, assembled, and had some motors and electronics glued into them. Who needs to ste

  • So what happens when this appears on the scene?: http://reprap.org/wiki/Metalic... [reprap.org] high quality high detail 3d printing of metals and other materials. Good luck trying to enforce IP rights once this tech hits the market.
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      high quality high detail 3d printing of metals and other materials. Good luck trying to enforce IP rights once this tech hits the market.

      High quality, high detail 3D printing of metals and other materials will be banned, because 'public safety!' After all, evil people COULD PRINT GUNS!

      Seriously, governments are going to do everything they can to restrict this technology, because the ability to make anything you want at home would destroy the entire economic and political system. How can Big Business make money if anyone can print stuff? How can Big Government regulate things if anyone can just print them?

      • by DMJC ( 682799 )
        What I suspect will happen is that this technology is so revolutionary that the first country to adopt it and not ban it will see an explosion in material wealth across the entire population. That will cause everyone in other countries to start politically agitating for access to the technology.
        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          Ah, an optimist, I see. 'Agitating for access to the technology' would inevitably result in eliminating most of the government and business in that country, and they will fight that to the bitter end. Big Business and Big Government just don't work in a world where anyone can make anything they want at any time.

          I think it's far more likely that most of the West will ban it, until their economies collapse as other nations that don't have the same industrial baggage overtake them.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @01:33PM (#49101415) Journal
    You know the tiny contact switch that turns the light on in your fridge? Do you know its replacement cost? 57$. I am not joking, the tiny piece of plastic, strategically placed so that it would jostle as you put stuff in or take it out of the fridge, costs some 60$ + shipping and handling. At least for automobiles you can raid the junk yards looking for parts. But there is no fridge junkyard for me to raid.

    That profit margin is sure to evaporate. People will scan and print replacement part for a fraction of the price. Sears might actually install a 3D printer in their own store with access to official CAD drawings and sell it. But they will not be able to maintain such high price for such small piece that probably costs 20cents to make for long. So yeah, 3D printing might erode some of these profit margins, and these guys will bitch, moan and yell, "IP fraud, they don't have license from us to replicate these parts". But, if you had not abused your monopoly on the replacement parts and acted nicely, may be I would have been kind. But now, I say, cry me a river Sears.

    • Want to see more overpriced plastic bits? Spares for Toshiba laptops.

      The NB510* in particular. There's a severe flaw near the right hinge - the stress of the hinge attachment is on a tiny bit of plastic, and the power connectors is supported by another tiny bit of plastic. Far too small, and prone to breakage. When it breaks, you need to replace** the entire lower chassis. Nothing but a bit of molded plastic, but it costs quite a bit.

      *DO NOT BUY THIS MODEL
      ** You don't really 'need' to replace if it's the po

  • 3D printers are Competition Enablers. The allow unathorized competition to certian companies.

    Cyberspace(the internet, and all virtual space on interactive computers), there is no sarcity of goods. Companies can only profit by created scarcity to drive demand, and to do that, they need to ban people from doing things for themselves.

    This is no diffrent than a pimp accusing your girlfriend of "stealing" his business by providing sex for "free"

  • Will be interesting to see how copyright and patent laws evolve, once people can DIY more and more and more.

    Will things evolve to end up like "Venus Equaliteral - Special Delivery" or continue with the status quo?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • The article didn't mention a single item that could be counterfeited with a 3D printer. There was only a passing mention to guns, which is clearly not the main issue.

    • A counterfeitable item must be:
      1. Made entirely of plastic.
      2. Have no highly intricate mechanisms, though simple joints and gears are ok.
      3. Cost more than the bill of materials.
      4. Be subject to copyright, trademark and/or patent protection.

      I can think of a few things that fit those criteria. The first to come to mind are Warhammer figures. The second is high-end or branded audio gear. Currently the equipment for injection molding is bulky and expensive, which means tricky to hide - you have to get imports s

  • Anything that enables people to do things better and more efficiently, also enables people to commit crimes better and more efficiently.

  • by Aviation Pete ( 252403 ) on Saturday February 21, 2015 @04:47PM (#49102307)
    This is part of patent law [wipo.int]. If you read a patent and use the idea for your private amusement, you are free to do so. Only when you sell widgets based on a patent you will get in trouble. This is part of patent laws worldwide, so I wonder what this fuzz is all about.

    Sure, there will always be some leeches who will try to get rich with MAFIAA methods, but if you fall for their cons, don't blame patent law for it.

    • I think you may have uncovered IP Lawyers real contentions, by following the words of Deep Thoat, when discussing money.
  • Maybe IP Lawyers should consider what many of us have had no choice but to consider; go and get training in something else. But from a more personal perspective, go find the ancient burial ground of the Buggy Wip Maker. Travel Agents, and American Engineers are been cheerfully shown the way.
  • I know several bike groups here in the UK who keep old machines running with the help of some friendly light engineering firms. Certain parts are no longer available. Simple parts, like headlamp brackets, or exhaust clips, but with the mounting holes in *just* the right places. So, from time to time, one of the Panther user groups, or MZ user groups will take an intact part to a small manufacturing firm and ask for 25 or 50 of these - enough to make it worth their while setting up the tools to produce th

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