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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5645/the-battle-over-rapid-replication-is-about-to-begin/

The battle over rapid replication is about to begin

September 19, 2006 by

When 3D printers become cheaper and more reliable, it will only be a matter of time when customers will be sued by toy manufacturers (among others), just as the RIAA has done to music enthusiasts. Why buy a $5 plastic figurine when your 3D scanner can precisely measure the entire object and print an exact replica for only a few cents? And while Billy may still be the first kid on the block to get the latest Pokemon or Power Ranger, moments later every other kid will also have it.

Proponents of IP will of course use the same arguments as they currently do to persecute music and video file-sharing. Yet, neither inventor nor manufacturer will be deprived of any property as no physical theft will take place.

Which brings us to a lawsuit filed by Scanner Technologies who is alleging that NVIDIA (tech firm that makes graphics cards), “willingly sold products based on a 3D ball-grid array (BGA) inspection system that allows for more reliable products. The system also allows better manufacturing efficiency.”

While details are still coming in, this is reminiscent of the recent high-stakes settlement between RIM (the makers of the BlackBerry) and NTL, a firm who simply sat on a patent rather than producing it.

For commercial applications see, Nanorex and Stratasys. See also: 1 2 3

{ 6 comments }

David C September 20, 2006 at 12:25 am

I am very thankfull that this is being mentioned. The current battle lines (for liberty) center around information control, the next ones will center around replication control. This will have profound implications as society enters the replication age and manufacturing shifts away from the factory and into the home.

The issue is that you can’t control information with physical force and home invasions. Currently they try to control information with lies, guilt (eg copyrights), ignorance, bullshit (eg monetary policy), and threats. But attempts to control information with force are ineffective and mostly just for show. However, most replication centers around physical items, and attempts to control it must cone from a physical presence.

How much harm will this cause when it plays out? I do not know, but I do know that millions of Africans were suffering and dying from AIDS while American pharmaceuticals sued in the world court to halt the manufacture of generics. I do know that safety devices in autos like air bags and anti-lock breaks were held back over 20 years by patents while well over a million people died in auto accidents. I do know that patents will commoditise as their service value exceeds their ownership value and it will cause great contention, like with copyrights. I do know how companies like Monsanto sue, threaten, and harass farmers when patented seed blows onto their fields. When the labor force commoditized and it’s service value exceeded its ownership value, a very bloody civil war broke out and half a million people ended up dead. It was the most bloody war in US history, and that was attributed to the fact that people were just developing these new killing technologies without understanding of adequate defenses. So here we will be in the nano age, with the potential to kill magnified by 100. It not only sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the perfect excuse for the government to coerce itself into every bodies home.

Vanmind September 21, 2006 at 12:18 am

Yeah. What he said.

Artisan September 21, 2006 at 8:17 am

“I do know that copyrights will commoditise as their service value exceeds their ownership value and it will cause great contention.”

Please, excuse me for asking what’s the “service value” of a novel?

Probably zero in your opinion, right? A novel doesn’even have a clear function… right?
Aren’t you the one who wonders why artists don’t get a “real” job anyway, like chief manager for instance?

A good painting, or writing may have a certain “value” on the market sure… but somehow in this case market forces lose all interest for “managers”, right ?

PR September 21, 2006 at 9:30 am

Today we have the War on Drugs to show us the absurd lengths to which the state will go to prevent people from arranging matter into certain patterns within their own homes. Naturally the state’s cost-benefit analysis of an “anti-replication” policy will consist of touting the benefits and ignoring the costs outright.

averros September 21, 2006 at 7:59 pm

The real fun with 3D printers will start when politicos realize that these can be used to make weapons, such as handguns, on demand.

(Right now the legal definition of a firearm in US is pretty much the lower receiver, or a frame – the part which has a serial number on it. You can buy all the other parts as spares, in any quantities, without telling any authorities).

At this time the 3D printer technology is not up to making the high-stress parts of firearms, such as barrels and bolts, but this will change, too.

Peter September 21, 2006 at 9:42 pm

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