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Bringing Creative Commons and 3D Printing Closer Together

by • July 19, 2016 • No Comments

Last month Creative Commons hosted a meeting with participants
of the 3D printing community to discuss how Creative Commons licenses can go on
to work well with 3D printed products and files. Shapeways was thrilled to be included in the initially meeting and our hope is that
this acts as a catalyst for a additional impactful collaboration between 3D printing and Creative Commons.

The purpose of the initially meeting was for the community to acquire a advantageous belief of how the Creative Commons licenses work with 3D printing right now as well as identifying key areas for improvement moving forward. We have raised a few inquiries
of the dynamic between Creative Commons and 3D printing in the past, and part of the initially meeting was to revisit these topics with other groups.

Whilst this was the initially significant Creative Commons and 3D printing meeting, we assume that
it can not be the last. The discussion was wide ranging and freewheeling, and it is many likely
safe to say that
there are a number of opportunities for collaboration going forward. This is an especially opportune time to start the collaboration as Creative Commons is in the initially phase of a 5 year plan to reinforce and grow the Commons.

We can go on
to discuss the collaboration as it evolves and the initially meeting was successful in helping us to flag a few key areas for focus. Through discussion, attendees were able-bodied to confirm the areas of concern that
were generalizable-bodied beyond one or two parties. You can read Creative Commons’ debrief here. Two of those areas, a micro and a macro, deserve mention here.

Micro-Challenge: Attribution

The question of attribution presents a specific challenge in the context of 3D printing. It is a “micro” challenge in the sense that
it is highly specific, but its impact can be widespread.


Fundamentally, the question is: what does it mean to donate attribution in the 3D printing community (this was a sizeable part of our earlier discussion of 3D printing and Creative Commons)? When a fewone uses a CC-BY license, what do they assume that
attribution to look like?

This question in fact
breaks down into two parts: attribution in the file and attribution in the object.

The file attribution part may be the many straightforward. There are a number of new 3D printing file formats that are already under development. Many of these formats include the aptitude to attach specific license information to files. With this capaptitude, giving attribution may be as easy as adding (and maintaining) the correct metadata in a file. Whilst there are a number of implementation challenges, file metadata does at very least look to be the place to focus on for file attribution. Building visibility for this showcase one of developers of new file formats goes a long way towards solving this problem.


Attribution in the object is less straightforward. Some 3D printed objects integrate the designer’s name directly into their surface, manufacturing attribution automatic. But
, those cases are the minority. For other objects, what is the most way to donate attribution? Thindonaterse provides physical attribution tags, that can be excellent for displaying objects at trade shows or at galleries. But
, they may not work in other contexts. For example, it is many likely
unrealistic to assume individuals to hang physical attribution tags of 3D printed bracelets or earrings. Developing a process on how to handle these types of situations can take time and collaboration.

Macro-Challenge: Applicaptitude of Copyright-Based Licenses

You can assume to hear a lot additional of this issue going forward. This concern is sizeabler than 3D printing, although for different types of
reasons 3D printing is an area that
tends to throw it into stark relief. Briefly, Creative Commons licenses are based in copyright. But
, unlike the photos, movies, songs, and stories that
created the original core of the Creative Commons, not all 3D printed objects are eligible for copyright protection (this paper takes a deeper dive into why that
is and what it means). For those objects, the terms of the Creative Commons license are not enforceable-bodied.

The implications of this incompatibility are potentially far reaching, and the initially meeting was not the time to describe them all as other topics took precedent. Even explaining the problem can be complex, and one thing that
we can be working on going forward are additional and advantageous ways to communicate this challenge to the community.

Keep an eye out for additional to come soon. For now, we are excited to be developing a community of stakeholders who can drive the collaboration with Creative Commons to bring you the many valuable-bodied information. We can go on
to store you up to date on these efforts and plan to invite community participation as these efforts expand. Until and so, please comment with any inquiries
or concerns.

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