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DRM Printer Hardware

DRM Could Come To 3D Printers 315

another random user sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Downloading a car – or a pair of sneakers – will be entirely possible, although Ford and Nike won't be particularly happy if people use their designs to do so. A new patent, issued this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and titled 'Manufacturing control system', describes a system whereby 3D printer-like machines (the patent actually covers additive, subtractive, extrusion, melting, solidification, and other types of manufacturing) will have to obtain authorization before they are allowed to print items requested by the user. In a nutshell, a digital fingerprint of 'restricted items' will be held externally and printers will be required to compare the plans of the item they're being asked to print against those in a database. If there's a match, printing will be disallowed or restricted."
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DRM Could Come To 3D Printers

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  • Added Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mhajicek ( 1582795 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:35AM (#41631883)
    This will require significant bandwidth and processing power, especially to stop circumvention by rotating scaling, cutting (for later assembly) or adding or subtracting insignificant features. This bandwidth and processing power will add significant cost, which I see as fortunate in that it will be a competitive disadvantage for DRM enabled printers.
  • Seriously! WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:37AM (#41631911)

    God, the patent wars are coming to 3d manufacturing. What the heck is the point? I have to check with colgate before I can use my own machine to make myself a custom toothbrush? Is there going to be a DMCA provision for manufacturing at home now? Is it going to be abused like the current process is. I say BULLSHIT!

  • Sweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Garridan ( 597129 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:37AM (#41631929)
    Looks like the patent protects a technology to implement DRM on printers. So... if you want to implement DRM on your printer, you'll have to pay the owner of this patent licensing fees. Otherwise, no DRM. So, non-DRM printers will be cheaper and more readily available.

    Remember guys, a patent is not a law that things must be done this way! It's the opposite -- if things are done this way, you'll have to pay for it.
  • RAND standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:41AM (#41631993)
    More likely, this company wants to make money on some future standard that will kill 3D printing. You know, a standard that will be required by law for all 3D printers, which will be so loaded with junk like this that only large industrial operations will be able to use 3D printers. Us little people can buy or rent the products of 3D printers, but to own or operate one in your home will be out of the question.

    After all, when we allowed people to have computers in their homes instead of x.25 terminals, look at the disaster that ensued.
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:46AM (#41632051)

    Wasn't that exactly what the AHRA did, strangle DAT and Minidisc in the cradle.

  • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:49AM (#41632093) Journal
    This kind of DRM will be about as effective as the copy protection on DVDs or, perhaps, Blu-Ray. That is to say: not very effective at all. Creating machines or software that bypasses this protection will be available to anyone interested not too long after the protection itself has rolled out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:49AM (#41632095)

    The item "3D printer that do not have these restrictions" will be on the blacklist, so you can't print it.

  • by mpoulton ( 689851 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:57AM (#41632217)

    How can they believe that they can control this in a world where highly advanced 3D printing is possible at home? People will just print their own 3D printers that do not have these restrictions.

    I'm sorry, but "highly advanced" home 3d printing is so far from reality that this doesn't seem plausible in our lifetimes. The last 3D printed part I ordered from a commercial manufacturer was an intricate set of inherently interlocked mechanical components laser-sintered out of a cobalt-chromium superalloy. It literally could not be manufactured by any other process. The last 3D printed part I saw produced by a "home" 3D printer (a RepRap) literally looked like a piece of poop - and it wasn't supposed to.

    Commercial 3D printing is just starting to become economically viable for use as a production technology in some specialized applications. But the gap between the commercial implementations and DIY implementations is huge, and not closing very fast. Mechanical technologies develop much more slowly than electronics. In our lifetimes, we have seen unimaginable advances in electronics, but mechanical manufacturing has advanced only incrementally. And this makes sense. The advances in electronics are facilitated by advances in our understanding of the science involved. But we already understand Newtonian mechanics, thermodynamics, statics, strength of materials, and all the other disciplines involved in mechanical manufacturing. We understand the science very well, and have for over a century. Thus, the improvements in this field come more slowly and arise more from creativity and synthesis rather than from breakthroughs in human knowledge.

    TL;DR: Moore's law doesn't apply to mechanical manufacturing; the rate of progress in this field is slow and disconnected from the rate of progress in electronics; and "highly advanced 3D printing" won't be possible at home any time in the near future.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:59AM (#41632249) Homepage

    It doesn't really even matter if they somehow manage to get this accepted and into the 3D printers...

    It matters if all 3D printers have to pay some sort of 'tax' to offset the losses of the big companies. Like we do for SD cards, hard disks....etc. (in some countries)

  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:05PM (#41632335)

    Sci-fi is decidedly not prior art in patents. I can imagine a device for instantaneous teleportation, but that wouldn't invalidate a patent for such a device, since patents (are supposed to) cover actual inventions, not just an idea for something, which is all sci-fi is. So unless your science fiction comes with detailed drawings and working descriptions detailed enough to actually build the device in question (in which case it isn't fiction), it cannot serve as prior art.

  • Perhaps the people who have approved decades of "existing idea X, but on a computer" and "existing idea-on-a-computer X, but over the network" claims will decide that "existing idea-on-networked-computers X, but using a 3D printer" claims are where the obviousness line is finally being crossed?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:24PM (#41632585)

    Actually, if it's patented to have DRM on a 3D printer... wouldn't that mean printers wouldn't be able to DRM anything UNLESS they actually paid for rights to use the patent to prevent users from using their product?

    "Your honor, my device does not legally have the right to use the DRM restriction, as it is a patented technology and we do not currently have any licenses to it."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:57PM (#41632975)

    TL;DR: Moore's law doesn't apply to mechanical manufacturing; the rate of progress in this field is slow and disconnected from the rate of progress in electronics; and "highly advanced 3D printing" won't be possible at home any time in the near future.

    Conventional printers are also constrained by mechanical manufacturing. Nonetheless, we've seen a very nice progression from the dot-matrix electromechanical printers of the 1970s to the superphotographic quality of today's cheap inkjet or laser. We thoroughly understood the science involved in both electromechanical impact printing and photographic chemistry. But advances in software and microcontrollers gave us ways to use those technologies more effectively and cheaply, and made practical other technologies that let us do even better. I see no reason to believe that the same thing won't happen with 3D printing.

  • by Ogi_UnixNut ( 916982 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:13PM (#41633159) Homepage
    mp3 didn't exist in consumer level hardware when minidisc came out (1992). DRM is what killed minidisc, as due to the DRM, Sony never made a PC "minidisc drive" that could burn audio minidiscs (they were petrified of mass copying). When CD-burners became consumer level hardware, it came to the forefront, and drove mp3 adoption like crazy (as people could now burn their own MP3-CD's). Coupled with ISDN (128kb internet) and the relatively small size of MP3, minidisc was doomed.
  • by dyingtolive ( 1393037 ) <brad DOT arnett AT notforhire DOT org> on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:33PM (#41633383)
    If other DRM schemes are any indication, you'd probably wind up setting off false positives for things you've genuinely created yourself. Gotta err on the side of caution after all.
  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:55PM (#41633629)

    Really, they'd be complete morons to try to trust unencrypted data once it's in someone else's physical control.

    That would seem consistent with what I've observed with most copyright holders.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay