Hi Shapeways! I’m excited to be joining the team as the new IP and General Counsel around here. 3D printing is obviously amazing for all sorts of reasons, and one of those is how it gives people an opportunity to rethink their relationship to intellectual property law. 3D printed objects and files do not fit as neatly into intellectual property law as things like music and movies. This gives the 3D printing community a chance to redefine the relationship between creativity, creation, and intellectual property law (among so many other things). Law certainly has an important role, but a healthy community does not rely on law alone in order to thrive.
For the past few years, I’ve been working on public interest technology policy at Public Knowledge. While there, I wrote a few whitepapers on 3D printing and intellectual property law: : It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw It Up, What’s The Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing, 3 Steps for Licensing Your 3D Printed Stuff. I also helped to organize 3D/DC, an annual 3D printing policy conference in Washington, DC.
I’m excited to join Shapeways and to try and put some of the ideas I have been working on for the past few years into practice. As the leading 3D printing service and marketplace, Shapeways is uniquely positioned to help establish and model the ways in which we interact with the 3D printed world. Doing things right here at Shapeways means proving to the world that we can avoid some of the fights that have held back new technologies in the past.
Fortunately, Shapeways already has a track record of doing things right. We have partnered with Hasbro to create SuperFanArt and pioneer a new model for collaboration between existing IP holders and their most devoted fans. We have also taken a community-first approach to defining and implementing our content policy in order to make sure that Shapeways works for the Shapeways community.
I know that these great initiatives are just the beginning. The best thing for Shapeways and the Shapeways community is to create a space that works for everyone. That means respecting rights and creativity, and encouraging experimentation and new models. It also means continuing to be strong advocates on behalf of 3D printing and the 3D printing community. We’re still at the beginning of this process, and look forward to continuing to develop new methods of fueling creativity in the future.
Of course, part of trying new things is sometimes getting things wrong. Fortunately, the best way to respond when you are getting something wrong is to make it right. In that spirit, if you see us doing something wrong or you have ideas of ways that we could be doing more right, send me an email at email@example.com or a tweet @mweinberg2D. I can’t promise that I will be able to answer everything, but I’ll do my best. Of course, you can also send me emails and tweets if we are doing something right.
Finally, I look forward to connecting with the Shapeways community through this blog and other channels. Shapeways works because it works for you, and I know that sometimes changes (especially changes that involve legal aspects, and even if they are good changes) can be disruptive. I will strive to be as transparent as possible about what we are up to.
Until then, keep making great things!