Who's Afraid of 3D Printing?
41 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 2, 2019
Heralded for ushering in a new era of personalized manufacturing, there is a growing fear that consumer 3D printing is the next frontier of massive intellectual property infringements. Described as the Napster of patents, illegal 3D printing is foretold to disrupt manufacturing in the same manner as digital piracy unsettled the music industry. This Article shows that the negative forecast of rampant 3D printing piracy is unfounded. We explain how the purported analogies between P2P file sharing and consumer 3D printing overlook essential differences between piracy of media content and physical property. We caution against aggressive enforcement against unauthorized consumer 3D printing that would impede innovation and the development of 3D printing technologies.
Keywords: 3D printing, intellectual property, piracy
JEL Classification: K1, K19, K41, k42
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