Brian Rideout

Document Type



Three-dimensional printing (3D printing), which allows users to digitize and replicate objects, is emerging as the next potentially disruptive technology. It is now possible to “print” intricate objects from furniture to food to human organs. Because 3D printing relies on computer-based blueprints in order to create physical objects, digital copyright infringement can now impact the physical world. The first example occurred in February 2011, when the world's first Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice for a 3D printed object was sent. This article describes how 3D printing works in relation to copyright law, first by discussing this DMCA takedown request, and then discussing the validity of the copyright complaint. This article then discusses future copyright concerns for the open source 3D printing community in light of how the 3D printing community handled its first copyright complaint.