Shapeways might have found the best model yet for 3D printing copyrighted objects


Copyright holders and 3D printer owners don’t like each other for the most part. Once a protected design makes it onto a 3D model site like Thingiverse, it just takes a few clicks to download and print it. It’s a modern version of pirating.

Copyright holders don’t receive any compensation for the design and, as a result, often do their best to find and request the takedown of the models. Some companies have gone ahead and offered designs for free to drum up interest among fans, but the vast majority have been slow to adapt to the rise of 3D printers.

Shapeways, which 3D prints and ships objects on demand, tested an unusual model: allow a few select artists to sell Hasbro-licensed characters, and split the revenue with Hasbro. The startup opened the option to everyone this week, allowing anyone to create designs that feature classics like G.I. Joe, My Little…

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