Another dimension: 3D printing heralds new world of regulation for manufacturers
Additive manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, have the potential to radically change the way many industries work. This will have implications for business – and by extension for the law, most obviously in the field of intellectual property (IP). This isn't a theoretical science fiction concept. It is here now, and it is already causing radical shifts in manufacturing practices across a vast range of industries, overturning established economic models in the process. Using a materials printer, you effectively add thin layers of matter to build a real, three-dimensional object from a digital model. There are different forms of additive manufacturing, but they all have a similar basis. As long as you have the right digital design file to guide the process, there are few limits on what you can make.
Action must be taken to avoid repeating mistakes over online copyright and file sharing, says Peter Dickinson
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