Remarks on 3d Printing, Free Speech, and Lochner
27 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2017
Date Written: June 1, 2016
In Reno v. ACLU, the Supreme Court's first opinion to apply the First Amendment to the Internet, Justice Stevens compared the World Wide Web "to both a vast library including millions of readily availability and indexed publications, and a sprawling mall offering goods and services." He would not have known in 1997 how sprawling the "mall" would become, with Amazon, eBay, Silk Road, and so on, and we surely cannot imagine the sprawl to come in the future. But the emergence of 3D printing technology nevertheless allows us to see what is coming: a "mall" in which shoppers not only form contracts for goods, but also take possession of the goods themselves after they are, for all intents and purposes, delivered over the wires. If the Internet's "mall" was metaphorical in 1997, that mall will become increasingly literal as home manufacturing becomes more effortless. And at the same time, it will become ever clearer that certain uses of the Internet do not resemble a "library" in any meaningful sense.
Keywords: First Amendment, Constitutional Law, Law and Technology, 3D Printing
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