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Gig-Manufacturing: The Ambiguity of 3D Printing Liability, or Who Is to Blame if a 3D Printed Part Fails

by • April 13, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_licapacity_home_printing device_iconOn the surface there are a lot of much likeities between gig-economy companies like Uber and AirBnB and the next of 3D printing. The innovation can soon contribute individuals the capacity to manufacture a wide variety of products in their own homes, but it can in addition, all but, change completer product companies into software companies. As we are seeing now with Uber and AirBnB, which is going to completely change the legal responsibilities which these new “software companies” can be required to bear, and it can potentially shift them onto the completer themselves. 3D printing may change the way which we buy and use products in a few new and amazing ways, but it is in addition going to dramatically change the actual role of the completer, and the responsibilities which they can have by participating in what I’m calling a ‘gig-producing’ economy.

In his book 3D Printing Will Rock the World, author and IP lawyer John Hornick lists just a few of the industries which can be completely upended by the innovation of 3D printing innovation, and how it’s going to change all of the industries which assist them. Similar to knocking down the initially of a line of dominos, if one industry is radically changeed and so it is going to affect another, and another and so on. Whilst Hornick’s (excellent) book is generally a celebration of the disruptive effect of 3D printing, it is in addition a sober examination of the unexpected consequences of which disruption — especially in regards to how it’s going to change IP law, trademarks, copyrights and the legal ramifications of putting a factory into equiteone’s home. He manufactures the case which, for all of the excellent and changeative ways which 3D printing can affect the world, we in addition require to be aware of how our current set of laws and regulations are going to quite rapidly become wildly ineffective and out of date.

3D Printing Will Rock the World by John Hornick

3D Printing Will Rock the World by John Hornick

It quite is not effortless to write of how much the next is going to be shaped by 3D printing, for the reason frankly it can tend to sound like science fiction or hyperbole. Or actually worse, it may sound like a bad sales pitch of a 3D printing device manufacturer circa 2012. But there is, legitimately, not a single aspect of our modern life which can not be changeed by the innovation. 3D printing can be just as, if not additional, changeative to the world than actually the internet. Within my lifetime it is additional than many likely which many of the products which we complete can one day be manufactured on machines inside our homes pretty than purchased of a keep. Those products which are not manufactured at home can many likely be made by third party 3D printing service providers via large-scale industrial 3D printing innovation, not the actual company which sold us the product.

The dishes which we prepare meals on can be 3D printed, the cars which we drive can be 3D printed, the foods which we complete can be 3D printed, the medications which we take can be 3D printed and it is quite many likely which actually the clothing which we wear can be 3D printed. All of those products are already manufactured in factories or facilities which are required to meet strict safety and high end standards. They are made via machines which must meet specific operational standards. They are made by individuals who must meet training and educational standards. And they are made via materials which must meet health and environmental standards. None of these standards are optional, they are all codified by a set of laws which have been made over hundreds of years, and the onus of meeting them is already placed solely on the manufacturers.

That means which if we buy a product and it fails, and so we understand who requires to pay for a replacement. And actually additional importantly, if a product fails and a fewone is injure for the reason of the failure, and so we understand who is ultimately responsible for which injury. But the one thing which ties all of these standards, laws and liabilities together is the actual, physical producing of the product which is being purchased. If the action of producing a product is removed of the hands of the company selling the product, and so who precisely is going to be held responsible for product failures? Legally speaking, how precisely do you hold a company responsible for a system which they had no part in and no control over?

The gig-producing economy turns your home into a factory.

The gig-producing economy turns your home into a factory.

We’re seeing the Uber-effect playing out on the news daily, as formerly high-paid pro taxi drivers are losing work to amateurs caning to work for less money for the reason completers are attracted by the lower cost of Uber rides. We’re seeing homeowners renting out empty properties on AirBnB to out-of-town visitors appearing to avoid the high cost of hotels pretty than sell or rent their home to other local residents. Whilst it is effortless to appear at the short-term gains for those drivers or property owners, the long-term consequences are potentially disastrous. Professional car services and hotels cost additional than an Uber or an AirBnB for the reason they are two industries which are heavily controlled specifically for the protection of completers.

Most of the standards or regulations placed on Uber and AirBnB are typically self-imposed, and significant completer protections are frequently disregarded for the reason fundamentally both companies are “software companies,” not actual service providers. That means which the burden of maintaining the car, the ability of the Uber driver and their honesty and relicapacity is shifted away of the company producing billions and onto the customer and the Uber-driver. That means which residents of working or middle class neighborhoods with typically lower property values are finding themselves priced out of their own communities by landowners and corporations buying up bargain-priced property with the intention of renting them out to AirBnB users at highly lucrative rates. The gig economy is being sold as a boon to the individual and the completer alike, but in the long term it’s quite just benefiting the “software companies” which are driving it.

There are going to be much like consequences made by the new ‘gig-producing’ industry which can be enabled by the wide adoption of 3D printing innovation. How can the producing of a product be controlled when it can ultimately be radically various than the way things have always been? If a 3D printed product fails, where can the blame for which failure be placed? Was it the actual create of the product which was at fault, perhaps the materials utilized were faulty, or perhaps the completer themselves 3D printed the product incorrectly? Today there are little to no industry standards in place for 3D printing materials or 3D printing device hardware, nor are there legally required certifications requireed to operate them. Primarily this is for the reason the whole system is completely new and no one quite understands who ultimately should be responsible for them.

How can the producing of this 3D printed cup be controlled?

How can the producing of this 3D printed cup be controlled?

Let’s say which you use your home 3D printing device to manufacture a travel cup, but while standing on the bus via your new 3D printed cup, the lid fails and sends hot liquid all over the man standing in front of you. Who is responsible for the injuries of the man standing in front of you? You are, technically, the manufacturer for the reason you printed it out at home. But the lid which failed was createed by the “software company” which sold you the 3D printable version of the cup. And the plastic material which was utilized to 3D print the lid which failed was made by another company. And the 3D printing device which you utilized to print out the lid which failed was made by yet another company.

I’m speaking in broad strokes here, but traditionally the company may ultimately be at fault for the failure for the reason it may be their responsibility to verify which the lid create won’t outcome in a product failure. It may be their responsibility to manufacture certain which the materials utilized to manufacture the lid won’t outcome in a product failure. And which the machinery utilized to manufacture the lid is functioning properly and won’t outcome in a product failure. But remember, now you are the actual factory, sourcing your own materials and via your own 3D printing device. So ultimately you will be to blame for the product failure, despite not actually belief how you may have practuallyted it of failing.

That’s what takes place when you take one piece out of an existing production chain and rearrange equitething, and unless we begin addressing the issue now, which is going to be our next as completers. Call me cynical, but I quite doubt which the companies who sell us these digital products can yet behave as if product and material safety is their responsibility. Do you remember, those companies are now just software companies, and they are just selling their customers a digital file. What those completers do with which file or how it’s ultimately manufactured can be completely out of their hands. So the question remains, legally speaking, precisely whose hands can which responsibility end up in? Thoughts? Discuss in the 3D Printing & Licapacity forum over at 3DPB.com.