Make no mistake, this potential for a DMCA violation is little more than a pretext for manufacturers to protect materials and processes that are completely unrelated to copyright law. Stratasys is trying to use the DMCA to protect its market in consumables, a market that – regardless of how much time, money, and effort they invest – simply isn’t eligible for copyright protection.
The idea that the DMCA is a pretext to protect these unrelated markets is not speculation. Stratasys’ own filing for the Copyright Office focuses almost exclusively on concerns like consumer safety and repeatability of prints. These concerns may be important, but they are not the types of concerns that Copyright is designed to address.
Stratasys further commissioned an economic study as an addendum to its filing purporting to detail the consumer benefits of locking users into one source of consumables. Regardless of the validity of this argument – and I’ll admit that I’m highly skeptical – this benefit has nothing do with concerns about someone making infringing copies of the software that runs Stratasys printers.
Finally, during the hearing on this petition Stratasys spent a great deal of time detailing the potential for airplanes to fall from the sky if non-approved materials entered the commercial supply chain. Again, regardless of this argument’s validity, we simply do not rely on copyright law to address these sorts of harms. The fact that Stratasys focuses on all of these points at the expense of any actually connected to copyright highlights the pretextual nature of its involvement in this proceeding.
Read more. MakerBot is owned by Stratasys and frequently mentioned MakerBot in the proceeding. See our attempt to get some clarity with the new MakerBot CEO regarding DMCA and filament here (meeting overview).
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