HBO says “release the hounds” on 3d printing!

got-iphoneYesterday Wired reported the first take down notice for a 3d printed object, of  thousands that are likely to come out as 3d printing technology matures. It reminds me of the battle that began as the first CD was ripped and put up on the internet as an MP3. The music industry instead of embracing the new technology decided to sue anyone that wanted to download music onto a computer. Now, I’m not saying that the illegal download of music is right. I’m saying that the first reaction of the old guard is to hamper innovation. Imagine if instead of a multi-year battle against digitally downloadable music, the industry began looking into how to enhance the availability of digital music. Imagine how much happier everyone would have been? (except maybe Napster). I think we are poised at another very similar watershed moment, where 3d printing will face its first real test. If HBO’s response is typical of most corporations, 3d printing will go the way of the MP3, underground. It may be years before it sees the acceptance of major corporations, and it will only be seen as a threat, like MP3’s were. Listen up big industry,  give people a way to legally and easily 3d print out the things they like, and you will make money (tons of it). If not, be prepared to suffer as the music industry did.  In the end companies like Apple forced innovation in the music industry through sheer numbers or users, perhaps there will be a similar force in the 3d printing world… For now, if you want a 3d printed Game of Thrones iPhone dock, you can only hand whittle one from wood (or is that illegal too?)

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