The Shapeways Blog: 3D Printing News & Innovation

Shapeways Blog


Public Libraries, 3D Printing, FabLabs and Hackerspaces


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Thanks for highlighting our project.

We remain committed to the essence of public libraries and a genuine commons, as a 'university of the people,' as a place where the knowledge of past generations is preserved for present and future research, in short: as a democracy machine.

We think that public libraries are a uniquely positioned institution for the public to be introduced to 3D printing technology. As you are probably well aware, there are major IP/patent/copyright issues that need to be navigated as this technology advances, and at present there are major anti-democracy forces trying to shut down this kind of innovation (the proposed COICA legislation being the most draconian example). Public librarians are a trusted institution, and if the public first encounters the potential of 3D printing in a place that they've always trusted when it comes to SHARING then it will help the public correctly navigate these IP concerns so that we can protect innovation that SHARES without resorting to STEALING. The key is that much of what is currently classified as piracy needs to be reclassified as good old-fashioned sharing.

Such a world would be a place where entities like Shapeways can truly thrive. As the public bumps up against the technical limitations of open source printing they're going to want to print out their final designs with the most advanced, hi-res materials and processes possible.

We're not just trying to brainstorm this idea, we're actually trying to make it a reality. We appreciate you're highlighting this project. I think if we can generate some buzz among makers/hackers it can only help get this project off the ground.
#1 Thomas Gokey (Homepage) on 2011-05-03 16:18 (Reply)

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