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mygif

3D printers are not a special new technology — you can do the same thing now, just in a different matter.

If I carve a sculpture, I have a copyright on the sculpture. It doesn’t matter if someone comes along later and casts a mold of my sculpture and then makes and distributes millions of copies. If I didn’t authorize them to do it, then they have violated my copyright.

Replace “casts a mold” with “scans into a computer” and I don’t see how the situation is difference, just the mechanism used.

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mygif

http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr02376.html

Take a look at that. Industrial Designs can be registered in Canada and are eligible for IP protection for 10 years.

The features that make it a chair can’t be protected, but all design features beyond its essential chairness can be protected IFF they are original and unique (and I’m guessing here – not derived from any functional requirement.) A better mousetrap is patentable. A better looking mousetrap is covered under Industrial Design rules.

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mygif

If I carve a sculpture, I have a copyright on the sculpture. It doesn’t matter if someone comes along later and casts a mold of my sculpture and then makes and distributes millions of copies. If I didn’t authorize them to do it, then they have violated my copyright.

A sculpture isn’t utilitarian. By definition, it does nothing other than sit there and be Art. That’s why it attracts copyright: it’s purely the expression of an idea. It doesn’t quite work the same way for something you can use.

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Allegretto said on July 12th, 2011 at 11:01 am

Are you both Chrises the same Chris?

*some smiley or other*

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mygif

There appears to be 3 different Chrises in here.

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mygif

They’re Infinite Chrises!

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mygif

Now we just need to redistribute the Chrises to get Chrises on infinite earths!

I don’t see how this is special to 3d printing, either. Maybe the way “utilitarian” is interpreted is different in Canada, but in the U.S. you can hold copyright in the facade of a building or the user interface of an accounting program. If the chair looks that way because it has to look that way to function, your only option is a patent. If it looks that way because you’ve ornamented functional elements to make it pretty, it’s a design patent. If it looks that way because you made a work of art that you can sit on, it can be copyrighted. If it has two black disks on top, it infringes on Disney’s trademark. Which protection is available is not a bright line, but I just don’t see how “now, it’s easier to infringe” materially changes any of them, especially considering that all the protections also protect against poor facsimiles.

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mygif

Dibs on being the Chris of Earth-S. I wanna hang out with Talky Tawny.

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mygif

…so…what’s the difference between a mass produced utilitarian chair & a mass produced utilitarian pamphlet…? (Other than one is easier to sit on)

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Mitchell Hundred said on July 12th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I think that the principle (as I understand it from this post) behind defining a chair as utilitarian is that it’s generically useful to a wide variety of people. Whereas a chair that is artistically unique has some distinguishing feature which gives it value beyond ‘people can sit in it’.

Also, a utilitarian pamphlet openly pushes a specific ideology, whereas a utilitarian chair has none (beyond subtly and silently advocating for a chairocratic government).

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mygif

I think I read a Cory Doctorow novel about this.

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mygif

How is mass-producing a chair different from mass-producing a book? Aren’t there still just 100,000 copies of the same thing, meant for use by consumers (sitters and readers, respectively)?

Is it just because using a book (or a movie, or music) is different from using a chair? If it’s because it’s difficult to apply some objective measure of quality to those things, isn’t “comfort” somewhat subjective, as well? How different from reading a book is sitting in a chair, business-wise, as in consumption of a product?

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Walter Kovacs said on July 12th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

It seems to be a sort of gray area ‘I know it when I see it’ situation where a judge would or similar impartial party would have to determine what is copywritable or not. An image etched into the chair would be pretty clear cut. However, something like as ornate ‘style’, maybe a snake scale pattern on the legs/arms/back, with pleather cushions … that would be hard to copywrite. If you have basically a sculpture/picture ‘attached’ to a chair, that would be a pretty easy copywrite. However, if the chair itself is the ‘art’, like it has some sort of weird spiderlike design of the arms, legs, back all intertwined, into an interesting design that is still a functional chair.

Of course, chairs are going to be replaced by Chlankets, which are a full body slanket with a small built in bean bag chair attached to the ass.

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mygif

As indicated, there isn’t just copyright at work here – there are design laws, trademark laws, reverse engineering laws et al that will probably come into play.

That said, I can see a lot of the current pro-piracy arguments being used if 3D printers became common place, e.g. “It isn’t a lot sale because I never intended to buy it and you can stil sell your original in a shop – it isn’t like I’ve stolen it”.

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mygif

The key difference between a chair and a book is that the function of the book is largely divorced from its creative content. Les Miserables works the same as Chilton’s works the same as a sketchbook. A chair doesn’t generally have that separate creative content; it is creative expression bundled up with function. The Aeron has a very distinctive look, but much of that distinctive look is a result of functional decisions rather than an attempt to communicate. When another chair looks like the Aeron, it’s often because it’s duplicating its functionality, not because it’s duplicating its creative expression.

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Walter Kovacs said on July 13th, 2011 at 2:34 am

The important question, is it a load bearing Jesus?

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mygif

It is, but you can swap in a load-bearing Simon of Cyrene instead if you want.

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mygif

suspecting that the answer will benefit whoever stands to massively profit from the new industrial design landscape when 3D printing comes around will probably not be entirely inaccurate.

That’s a best case scenario. Worst case is that whoever currently has the most cash gets to buy the laws that benefit them, even if it means strangling a huge potential market for a bunch of other people.

No movie studio could fund $200-million-dollar movies if the movie industry had successfully aborted the VCR / DVD market and left themselves with no income beyond ticket sales and TV broadcast rights.

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mygif

If you can successfully copyright the instructions to make a chair, could you, for example, make your initial chair and then copyright the instruction set needed by the 3D printer to reproduce it?

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BlackBloc said on July 14th, 2011 at 1:30 am

@Sbloyd: Technically yes, but it’s the same as with fonts… you can copyright the representation (the font file), not the design. Someone could simply reverse engineer the curves (easy enough since it’s all math underneath), change the file format, and voila… a new free version of your chair is on Thingiverse.com.

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