3D Printing vs Copyright

If there is a design of a coffee cup for example and I wish to modify it and print it, would I be breaking the law? This question has been asked several times by designers but there are issues that can be involved when you do 3D print. If I say I want to print a coffee cup for my own personal use and only print one copy, then it would be seen as educational and fall under Fair Use. However, if I were printing more than one copy and selling the coffee cup, then yes I would be breaking the law and I would be essentially stealing someone elses design.

When 3D printing be careful as to what your purpose is, because selling someones elses design is illegal and stealing for example Disneys design will lead you to a court case and chances are you will be sued.

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One thought on “3D Printing vs Copyright

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  1. Hey Maddy!
    The argument that you establish is definitely a highly contentious one, as is most debates in regards to what is considered as intellectual property and what can be used freely or not.
    Your initial example of a coffee mug is fantastic because you are able to establish and explain how even the most simplistic objects printed by a 3D Printer can still land a person in a hot-headed court case if they do not follow the right channel’s in regards to design usage.
    I feel however it is also important to mention how with the increase in accessibility to these forms of media platforms, and their accompanying designs, manufacturers and designers are faced with the real dilemma in regards to control. This is because a lot of their power in regards to revenue rests on their control over the design and distribution channels of their product or business. With sites such as Thingiverse, essentially we’re opening up these channels where potential copyright infringements can occur because it becomes a lot easier to obtain designs to particular objects and thus make potential modifications. In the past, designs and modifications were classified, and it was these classifications which lead to a greater feeling of security for businesses and designers because supreme control rested in their hands.
    Overall a brilliant piece!

    Like

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