by JG Vibes
October 14, 2012
Recently there has been a great deal of controversy over 3D printers and their ability to bypass intrusive government laws and regulations, specifically in the realm of firearms. It seems that the establishment has already been hard at work developing ways in which they can keep a lid on this technology and prevent it from being truly useful to the general population.
As I discussed last week the goal of restricting this technology is to keep industries cartelized and prevent the average person from gaining too much independence through these devices. A new patent, issued this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office titled ‘Manufacturing control system’ aims to do just that. Although it was issued this week it was actually filed way back in 2007, so it seems that they have working on this for some time. The patent describes a system where the owners of 3D printers or similar machines will have to obtain authorization before they are allowed to print certain items.
The patent is registered to Intellectual Ventures, a patent-trolling company which is currently hoarding over 40,000 patents and is run by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold. The primary goal of the system is to prevent people from printing objects using designs they haven’t paid for, and establishing what they call “object production rights.”
Michael Weinberg is a staff lawyer at the nonprofit Public Knowledge who reviewed the patent for technology review and described it as very broad, saying that “You load a file into your printer, then your printer checks to make sure it has the rights to make the object, to make it out of what material, how many times, and so on.”
According to Torrentfreak “a digital fingerprint of ‘restricted items’ will be held externally and printers will be required to compare the plans of the item they’re being asked to print against those in a database. If there’s a match, printing will be disallowed or restricted. Japanese rights holders are already pushing an ISP level version of the same kind of system to nuke unauthorized music uploads.”
Earlier this year the Pirate Bay announced that they were going to start featuring 3D print designs on their website, predicting that someday people would be able to print out anything from cars to food. They commented on their blog that “Data objects are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare parts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.”
The Pirate Bay also believes that copying objects from digital to 3 dimensional form is going to be the next revolution in copying and literally bring a whole new dimension to the battle over intellectual property laws, and they are right.
If given the ability to flourish and develop in every way possible, the millions of people who end up using this technology will be able to create amazing things that could reshape this world for the better in a short amount of time. So far, this technology has been used to replace bones and body parts in people, creating exoskeletons for children with congenital illnesses in order to help them walk, and it is even said that someday people will have the ability to print working human organs through cheap home devices. These are the kinds of wonderful things that the patent would be capable of preventing, because it even covers edible substances and biological matter like skin, for example.
This kind of freedom and decentralization for manufacturing is a huge threat to the control structure, and many well-established industries threaten to lose their businesses to your average entrepreneur on the street. What we are seeing here is a traditional case of the candlemaker trying to prevent the discovery of electric light.
The good news about this patent is that it is just an invention right now; there is nothing forcing any of these companies to use it. However, we already have mercantilist businesses pressuring government to stifle their competition, as we see with intellectual property and top-down regulation.
Since 3D printers are promising to shake up the marketplace in a way that has not been seen in generations, it seems probable that these kinds of restrictions would be forced on the general public through legislation. Luckil, as with the current intellectual property battles, the technology seems to be many steps ahead of the people who are trying to keep a lid on it, but to stay ahead it will be necessary for people to resist these suffocating policies in every way possible.
J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio. He is also an artist with an established record label and event promotion company that hosts politically charged electronic dance music events. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com.
by J.G. Vibes
October 3, 2012
Defense Distributed, a new company that planned to help average people create firearms at home with 3D printers has had their equipment seized by the manufacturer after news of their controversial project was picked up by the media.
In an email that Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed received from “Stratasys”, the manufacturer, he was told that his primary project, Wikiweapon was illegal. A day later contractors hired by the company arrived at Wilson’s apartment in an Enterprise rental van and took the printer, which apparently hadn’t even been taken out of the box yet.There are many technologies that are beginning to emerge in the consumer market that have the potential to radically disrupt the status quo and shift the power balance on this earth in favor of the general population.
If given the ability to flourish and develop in every way possible, the millions of people who end up using this technology will be able to create amazing things that could reshape this world for the better in a short amount of time. However, as always the one thing that stands in the way of this achievement is the monopolists of the State, and their violently imposed restrictions on freely interacting individuals.
This has been the debate about 3D printer technology in the past year as Wikiweapon began to grow in popularity and gather press recognition. Wikiweapon was a project that intended to share open-source blueprints for 3-D printed guns, allowing anyone with the right equipment to manufacture a firearm from their home. In fact, this project merely planned to accomplish what is already possible, just on a larger scale. There have actually been people who have printed working, firing guns from a 3D printer. In June, Michael “HaveBlue” Guslick reported on his blog about successfully test-firing a homemade gun whose key component, the lower receiver, he made from ABS plastic on a ’90s-era Stratasys FDM 1600 3D printer.
Since this story came out there has been a mixture of excitement and hysteria in reaction, with gun control lobbyists already churning out the propaganda about this new technology that they see as a threat, because it has the potential to undermine every government regulation that you can possibly think of, if it was able to flourish of course. Sadly, as we are seeing with this recent power move made to prevent this project from going forward, creating an open path for this technology to flourish is going to be a long and difficult battle.
For Defense Distributed and the Wikiweapon project, it already has been a long and difficult battle. This is not the first time that they have had the plug pulled on their operation.The project also faced difficulties in late August, when IndieGogo shut down the project’s campaign, citing a terms of service violation regarding the sale of firearms. Unphased, the group turned to Bitcoin and raised $20,000 to rent the Stratasys 3D printer which was ultimately taken back.
There is good news though: the creators of this project are determined to fight the power and do all of the difficult legwork to make it easier for people in the future to freely use this kind of technology. After his printer was seized Wilson told Wired that: “We want everyone else to not have to do these things, so fine, we’ll do them, we’ll fool around with it, we’ll pay the thousands of dollars per year, It’s just disgusting. I hate that that’s the way it is, but that’s apparently the regulatory landscape.”
J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio. He is also an artist with an established record label and event promotion company that hosts politically charged electronic dance music events. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com .
by Adan Salazar
September 21, 2012
The right to bear arms is undeniably explicit in the constitution, but what about the right to produce your own arms?
That question will inevitably come about following the somewhat recent innovation of 3D printing, and a group’s announcement it wants to distribute plans allowing you to create firearms in your own home.
3D printing is exactly what it sounds like. You can literally “print” physical 3D objects by scanning whatever you want replicated. A 3D printer can work like a copier, but it can also interpret 3D CAD data files to create just about anything.
Earlier this week, an online fund-raising campaign created by University of Texas law student Cody Wilson and a group of friends reached its goal of collecting $20,000 to fund an operation known as the Wiki Weapon Project.
Wilson described the project in a video posted to You Tube in July, stating, “So consider this, a CAD file containing the information for a 3D printable weapon system. If that file was seeded by 30 people, let’s say, as long as there’s a free Internet, that file is available to anyone at any time, all over the world. A gun can be anywhere. Any bullet is now a weapon.”
Under the name Defense Distributed, the group set up an Indiegogo account to accept contributions, however their account was shut down for violating the terms of service. Forbes detailed the manner in which Indiegogo terminated the account:
About a month after the Wiki Weapon project’s launch, Indiegogo sent Defense Distributed an email saying its funds had been frozen due to “unusual account activity,” and followed up with an explanation that it had violated Indiegogo’s terms of service, which don’t allow the sale of “ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories.”
Although Wilson says they weren’t selling any of those items, they didn’t allow the setback to derail their efforts. They opened another donation account on their personal website and have since raised the money needed to rent a 3D printer and further advance their vision. According to Forbes, they’ll also hold a gun design contest to review different firearm designs.
Even though some of their donations came from gun enthusiasts and constitution-upholding patriots, Wilson says the group isn’t just doing it to arm the masses: “It’s more the liberation of information. It’s about living in a world where you just download the file for the thing you want to make in this life.”
Printers, like the RepRap, will have the capability of producing their own replacement parts, thus creating self-sustaining units and opening the door for mass production of endless 3D printers.
The group is sure to face other hurdles in their pursuit of information distribution.
Undeniably, an armed population would lead to safer homes and businesses, effectively reducing police roles to little more than parking and traffic ticket distributors. The project’s success would also murder profits for firearms manufacturers, and might be seen as unfair competition.
Wilson, however, maintains an optimistic view of the precedent their ideas could set: “As the printing press kind of revolutionized literacy, 3D printing is in its moment.”
Below is the video Defense Distributed released in July:
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