American Censorship Day

Shapeways is participating in American Censorship Day. Today the US Congress holds hearings regarding two laws called Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). These laws will change the Internet landscape forever if they are signed into law. They will give content owners unprecedented power to act on any alleged copyright infringement of their content.

So what is wrong with these two laws? If put into effect, the following things become reality:

  1. The US government can order Internet service providers to block any website because a user has posted copyrighted material
  2. The blocking of these websites is using a fundamental basis of the Internet called domain name system (DNS) and can prevent the Internet as a whole from functioning properly
  3. Users who infringe knowingly or unknowingly risk 5 years of jail time when convicted of their crime. Remember the toddler video on Youtube dancing on a Prince song for which they received a cease-and-desist letter from Universal?
  4. Content owners can cut off revenue streams of sites where a user posted copyrighted material just by sending a notice to their payment provider

So why does that hurt Shapeways?

  1. We receive and process more than a thousand uploads per day and produce more than 25,000 unique products each month. It is impossible for us to monitor and validate each model for copyright infringement, despite the measures we’ve put in place. Even if we would have the man power to check these models, I am sure we are not able recognize all copyrighted content.
  2. Copyrighted content posted by one user on Shapeways can lead to blocking access to for all US users or disable our payment processing so we couldn’t take your orders anymore. For many people, Shapeways has become crucial to their business and income. What about these people? And for all of our users, how would you do your 3D printing then?
  3. An organized witch hunt – like RIAA does – on individual users who post copyrighted material on any site could lead to unwillingness to share and publish your designs on Without our community, Shapeways doesn’t exist.
These laws will put an enormous burden and risk on any content sharing site in the United States. Shapeways is not alone in this but sites like Facebook, Google, Etsy, Ebay, Twitter, Flickr are all at risk. We take the opportunity today to make a public statement to the US government. Over 50 venture capitalist in the United States have sent a letter to Congress warning about the effects on the internet and innovation.

For more information please visit If you are a US citizen, we encourage you to reach out to your congressional representative and tell them you share our concerns. It is not too late yet!


  1. Anonymous

    Well… What Goes Around Comes Around…

    If Shapeways is skimming a shop owner’s sales & markups that could lead to a nasty shutdown.

    Stop abusing designers copyrights/sales/markup under the pretense of BETA site!

    1. Peter

      Hey Anonymous,

      we are not “pretending” to be BETA anymore, it has been removed.

      Also we are not skimming shop owners. Why would we? It is much easier to raise prices if we want to make more money. We want everybody to be successful on Shapeways, since your success is our success.

      We can provide clearer information on markup earned, markup payed and open/future payments and we will. We have had quite a few questions on that and we will address those. There is a thread in the forum you are welcome to join on this:

      Pete – CEO Shapeways.

    2. Dizingof

      Here is a live example how shapeways is skimming my markup:

      goto :

      click on my “Dymaxion World Map” model , add it to your cart – you will see the cost to print as the price WITHOUT my markup !!

      This is one example of TOO MANY “bugs” that profits shapeways on my expense from my copyrighted designs!

      If this law will pass my lawyer could shut you down !
      Enough is enough !!

      The following link is the $1200 skimming of my PayPal earnings over 3 pay periods in 2010 – why would you do that to a designer/shop owner ??

      – Bart made sure i got paid this owed sum and said over the phone “emm we seem to have a bug in our software”…

      How long will your employees keep messing with my sales & earnings???

      Enough is enough !!

      Do a search on forum to see TOO MANY “sales bugs” accruing in my account!!

    3. Wrench

      Instead of complaining, just pack your bags and go. There are other companies doing the same thing as Shapeways.

  2. Glenn Slingsby

    @anonymous – Have the guts to say what you want to say in the forums, not by putting up a sniping comment that has no facts to back its claim…

    As for the actual Blog post – Yes, scary stuff indeed. And, in reality, it obviously doesn’t just affect Americans, but it is American lawmakers who are trying to force their will on people’s of the world.

    Can they not see just how very bad this would be for the American economy that is already reeling?

    Passing this law(s) is akin to hunting butterflys with a shotgun… yes, you will kill a few butterflys but you could also shoot yourself in the foot as you wave that thing around!

    1. Anonymous

      I see you’re living off shapeways.. nice… wait till it bites you.. when you start seeing your markup shaved.. sales skimmed.. under the pretense of site “bugs” ..

      Do a search on the forum, its all there – no guts required

  3. David

    The internet has immediate post and very slow removal. Something probably does need to be done.

    I’m not happy with clumsy state control.

    But still believe in “intellectual property” as a reasonable way reason to pay designers.

    Shouldn’t the designer earn more out of their ideas than websites?

    1. Robert

      Let’s be clear we do not endorse or condone copyright infringement. Period.

      The problem is that in an open platform for sharing content there are 99.99% of good citizens and 0.01% who abuse it. The problem with these laws is that the 99.99% have to suffer because of the 0.01%.

  4. Aaron Trocola

    Oh, man. If this passes, the results will be apocalyptic. I want peoples property to be respected, but this bill is a mistake. Other than making lots of work for lawyers who contribute nothing to society, this will not have the intended effect. Maybe 10% of pirates might stop out of lack of convenience, but all the rest will shift their activities to lawless darknets and bounce through proxies. It will take about two weeks for them to figure it out. It will be untraceable and create a much bigger problem.

    If the 90′s were the Wild West of the internet, we are about to see our nearly stable utopia go all Mad Max, with lawyers suited up in the thunder dome.

    Incidentally, it is exactly the sort of paranoid cowards who hide behind anonymity who caused this with their blatant theft and abuse of everyone else on the net. You should be ashamed of yourself, anonymous.

  5. janis

    sorry to say..

    i live in the netherlands.. so if i can upload and get my modell.

    i don’t care!!!!! bye, usa people nice knowing you, to bade usa sucks with law making :’( going to miss you all..


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