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European Parliament considers 3D legislation

December 11, 2017

A report into the regulation of 3D printing and its effect on IP rights was debated recently.

Members of JURI, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, have met to discuss the issue of intellectual property rights and civil liberty in connection with 3D printing, reports

A report, proposing new legislative action controlling and monitoring 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, was presented by Joëlle Bergeron, of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.

“Since the object being made has been digitally designed, the possibilities for modifying and applying it are endless,” the report explains, detailing its ‘aim and scope’. The suggested course of action is the creation of “lawful 3D printing services.”

The reports outlines that these services would relate to IP, particularly regarding “the possibility of customising an object”, and also to civil liability. It references a previous review, carried out on behalf of France’s Higher Council for Literary and Artistic Property, in which the author called for further clarification of online 3D filesharing boundaries.

Bergeron’s report suggests three potential solutions to the issues it raises: A regulated global database of 3D printed objects; a legal limit on the quantity of objects that can be produced; and a 3D printing tax, with the aim of compensating rights holders “for the loss suffered as a result of private copies being made of objects in 3D.”

However, the drawbacks to such solutions include the fact that without exhaustive definitions in place, these new actions are almost unenforceable – for instance, what constitutes a ‘private copy’?

Ultimately, the report was dismissed by fellow members of JURI, who noted that the rise of 3D printing brought with it “innovative potential” and seemed in no particular rush to legislate for it.

Bergeron’s report can be viewed here.


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