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3Ders interviews Joris Peels about the future of 3D print licensing
Posted by 3DP4E

By Simon | 3Ders

When it comes to 3D printing, one of the hottest debate topics centered around its future is based on protected content and attribution. Similar to any other product licensing or patent situation though, the process and conversation can get quite complex very quickly. While it makes sense for content creators to be able to have the option to own the content that they have spent their own resources in creating, the open-source nature of replication via a 3D printer puts a complicated spin on things.

Aiming to find a viable solution for this gray space, 3D print industry heavyweight Joris Peels has been busy crafting a new way of allowing for proper recognition, attribution and sharing of 3D printable files. The 3D printing enthusiast, who has worked for i.materialise and Shapeways, among other 3D printing companies, is currently lending his talents to the 3D printing collaborative sharing hub YouMagine.

We had the opportunity to talk with Joris about what the near future of recognition and sharing looks like in the 3D printing space:

3Ders: How does your plan compare or differ to guidelines outlined within Creative Commons?

JP: At YouMagine we want to promote the sharing and remixing of things. The 3DPL license is made for sharing and to help spread technology, design, inventions and ideas that are real objects. We have focused and designed it specifically for physical items, designs for machines and objects. This requires a different license than existing licenses. We've also tried to be very clear about how 3D printing works and what the limitations are of the technology to manage expectations all round by people who design, share and by the remixers of these designs.

3Ders: Is this similar to a 'patent pending' or how might a content creator be able to protect their designs in a way that allows them to earn royalties off of it?

JP: We have an option of Rights Melt whereby you can share your invention in a noncommercial way for 12 months. Thereafter it automatically is open for commercial sharing as well. It is not similar to patents or patent pending legally. What it is, is a vehicle to promote the open source sharing of ideas. There are penalty clauses in the license so the 3DPL does have 'teeth" if you will if someone does not attribute or misuses your 3D print file or invention.

3Ders: How did the idea for the licence come about?

JP: At YouMagine we want to make all the things malleable and encourage the large scale sharing, remixing and invention of new technologies and 3D printed things. We want to build the plumbing for a collaborative technology exploration by our community. We saw that existing licenses were not made for hardware and physical things that existed in the real world. We wanted to protect our community, the broader 3D printing community, people who 3D print things they download, our competitors & end users by creating a license specifically made for 3D printed things. We hope that this license clearly for all parties explains how they can share things. We hope to get a lot of feedback to improve this and strive for a worldwide adoption for the license.

3Ders: What sort of 3D printed objects do you think people will want to protect under this license?

JP: If we look at YouMagine our community makes all sorts of things from Flutes to Ravioli Makers to Wireless chargers. What we're specifically interested in is completely new technologies, 3D printers, 3D printing technologies and new inventions. We see a world emerging whereby groups of individuals collaborate across the world to either commercially or non commercially create, share & sell products. We want to help this world emerge and are building the infrastructure for it. This is why we created the 3DPL.

3Ders: How did you get involved with 3D modeling and 3D printing? What programs do you use and what 3D printer do you use?

JP: I've been obsessed with 3D printing since 2004. I've read every article & research paper I could since then. I got to work in the industry in 2008 for Royal Philips Electronics on what would later become Shapeways, then I worked for i.materialise. Subsequently I became an independent 3D printing consultant. I know consult for start ups, existing 3D printing companies & multinationals wanting to enter the space as well as work for YouMagine. I was at a time in my life where I wanted to take stock and help the Jedi and this prompted me to join the YouMagine team. Since I was about 9 I've been thinking about how we can recycle everything & let everyone make all of the things they need. This seemed an idle wishful perhaps even a naive dream until I learned about 3D printing. In this article I describe why I love this technology and do all I can to help it. I use Cura, AutoCAD, Blender (I suck at 3D modeling by the way and outsource it to friends), MiniMagics & Netfabb. I use a lot of systems depending on the client work I get and the projects I'm involved with as a consultant. I'm a huge fan of Ultimakers, Printrbots, FelixRobotics, EOS Formiga's, SLM Solutions, Concept Laser, Arcam, Objet Connex, ExOne, Stratasys Fortus, Mcor, Formlabs, MarkForged, DTM, Sciaky, Optomec, Voxeljet, Materialise Mammoth, 3D Systems SLA, Luxexcel & Envisiontec. My favorite material at the moment is either Ultem, Colorfabb Bronzefill, Recreus FilaFlex, Kevlar, Luxexcel 3D printed optics or Titanium. I mostly use EOS SLS polyamide for work because in consumer applications it nearly always wins. I'm currently most excited about nanofilled materials, conductive inks, large delta 3D printers such as Olivier van Herpt's ceramics machine, RichRap's paste extruder & filament recyclers. I think that a device such as the FilaMaker can radically alter 3D printing by making it greener and letting us all recycle household waste. This would also let everyone recycle & 3D print for around $1 a kilo. A 3D printed vase would then cost $0.20. This would dramatically change the industry. My favorite thing at the moment is still Cleven's Velociraptor Business card.

3Ders: With brands like Quirky, GE and recently Tesla 'unlocking' their patents, where do you see the near future of protected content going?

JP: I have no idea where "protected content" & patents are going. I'm sure that some evil company will try to do DRM for 3D printing. I would find this a horrible thing & detrimental to inventing a better future for all collectively. What we want to do is through the 3DPL create a path to recognition, attribution & sharing for technology. We hope to promote the sharing of ideas and technology so that technology can be better for everyone. We hope that the 3DPL will accomplish this. We are looking for feedback so we can make the 3DPL better for everyone. We'd love to be able to with everyone's help hit a collective home run and have a generally accepted working license for 3D printed things that has broad adoption in the 3D printing community.

To stay updated on the licensing project, you can follow Joris on Twitter: @pilz.

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Posted on September 29, 2014

By Davide Sher | 3D Printing Industry