Intellectual Property Infringements & 3D Printing: Decentralized Piracy

Ben Depoorter

Volume 65, Issue 6, 1483-1504

By drastically reducing the role of intermediaries in manufacturing, 3D printing is likely to set about the next wave of decentralized, non-commercial infringements of intellectual property rights. Drawing upon the lessons from the entertainment industry’s litigation campaign against illegal file sharing, this paper describes some of the common characteristics of decentralized piracy. I show that, like copyright enforcement on file-sharing networks, intellectual property enforcement of 3D printing faces economic and social norm complications that make traditional, litigation based enforcement ineffective and possibly counterproductive.

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