This blog will reflect on two articles, both regarding the effects of copyright on 3D printing and scanning. The articles involved are, “3D Scanning: A World without Copyright” by Michael Weinberg and “Possession is 99% of the Law: 3D Printing, Public Domain Cultural Artifacts and Copyright” by Charles Cronin.
The two authors have strong backgrounds in copyright and contract law, yet they have differing approaches to the question. Although there is common ground in both articles on a number of occasions, using examples to prove an argument, In particular the Burrow-Giles Co. V Sarony and Meshwerks V Toyota legal cases. Weinberg looks at the question as having two elements, the first being a ‘physical’ item, the second being its 3D digital copy or simply a data file. It could be that Weinberg is aware despite the extraordinary advance in 3D printing, copying artifacts in 3D has its limitations, especially colour. Cronin, on the other hand marvels at the possibilities of the technology, in particular printing. Cronin’s is more in-depth than Weinberg’s following the history of both 2D and 3D technologies. Cronin’s article should be read in its entirety, including the footnotes, that’s where his ‘however’ arguments are to be found, not unfortunately in the main text.
Weinberg uses a similar tactic in his article when he considers various versions of the article, the introduction being the short version, the “yes but what about…?”(Weinberg, 1) being the long version, essentially the rest of the article. Yet Weinberg like Cronin uses his footnotes to refer to further writings on the question. The in class discussion on the question appeared to focus on two main points. The first point being that those establishments or private collectors who held the ‘original’ copies of public domain pieces, gained both morally and financially by allowing free exposure to digitized online copies. The second point being that should these digital data files be used to produce 3D copies; they would be no more than scale models despite their detail. These detailed models could act as invitations for the public to visit establishments that contain the full size original of 2D or 3D, galleries or museums. The question both in these articles and the class discussion remained unanswered; those who hold the artifact public or private consider the copyright or contract. Those organisations that depend on the goodwill of society provide online digital databases and encourage crowd-sourcing. Those with private backers tend to align themselves to their backers’ elitism and pursue what they consider as infringements through the courts.
‘As possibly a tangent to this question is the growing use of ‘YONDR’ devices especially with performance artists. This technology is locked onto your phone or tablet when you enter the establishment. This blocks your phone signal and prevents any form of digital recording. The concept of license or contract was considered in both articles, it is seen here in the purchase of a ticket to a performance event, currently talk show, stand up comedy or music concert. The purchase of the ticket becomes a contract to abide by the rules of the event, namely use the ‘YONDR’ device or no admittance and your money returned. The technology company involved are hoping to expand further’ (New York Times).
Cronin, Charles Patrick Desmond, Possession is 99% of the Law: 3D Printing, Public Domain Cultural Artifacts & Copyright (March 8, 2016). USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 16-13.
Weinberg, Michael “3D Scanning: A World without Copyright” www.shapeways.com/…/wp…/white-paper-3d-scanning-world-without-copyright.pdf, May 2016.
Morrissey Janet – Your Phone’s on Lockdown. Enjoy the Show. The New York Times – Saturday 15 October 2016.