Digital Intellectual Property: Follow Up

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Last week  after publishing Bernard Charlès’ interview on IP at Hannover Messe, we received an email from one of our readers (thanks Patrick!) suggesting we look at this article. It covers what is perhaps the first intellectual property complaint ever on a 3D design.

Ulrich Schwanitz came up with a 3D design of the Penrose Triangle, famous for being impossible to create. He started selling his model via an online platform but soon after that, someone else (Artur Tchoukanov) recreated it and uploaded instructions on how to make it. Schwanitz then filed a complaint against Tchoukanov and the story went on so that he’s now called “the inventor of copyright threats over open 3D repositories.”

What’s new, you’re going to ask? Well, indeed, this is the first time someone gets a complaint for creating (not copying) a 3D model from an open 2D drawing. Was Schwanitz right? Is there any copyright to his 3D model? Or is it just not possible?

As Bernard Charlès stated last week, we have to come up with a proper legislation on digital Intellectual Property. So, what are the options? If we look at the music and movie businesses, such questions are still not answered. However, something I think we’ll all agree upon is Bernard’s quote: “when we encounter a conflict, we need unified ways to resolve issues.”

When it comes to industrial product creation, the issues go beyond those of the movie and music industries. This is because we’re talking about the creation of physical products that people use in their everyday lives. How about 3D printers? I know they’re pretty expensive at the moment… but can you imagine in a few years time, they will be democratized, powerful and you will find online CAD files for anything!

Say your door handle is broken… you will be able to reproduce it from scratch with your 3D personal printer! Take a look at this video if you doubt it:

Do you think physical product sellers will like this? I personally don’t think so. There is an urgent need to do something legally speaking. But again, this is still blurry…

So… what do you think?