The dream today of in home 3D printing is attractive to many and a nightmare to others.
The average consumer sees monumental benefits to printing almost anything they want, when they want at a fraction of the cost of purchasing it through conventional means.
This is great until it’s your product that is getting reproduced in mass and you are losing revenue due to 3D scanning and printing, derivatives being sold on eBay.
Our fear of product knock-offs has typically been limited to Asia flooding the markets with reproductions. 3D printing promises and will deliver on making every person, in every country their own manufacturing center knocking off millions of products a day.
Within a year of 3D printers entering the home we will see the rapid collapse of major manufactures and supply chains. This will result in an implosion of the economy at least temporarily until and if an alternate economy can emerge from the 3D printing landscape. Likewise shipping companies who depend on the movement products will see drastic cuts in volume as the demand dies up on the retail side. Tax revenues will likewise dry up from the sales for retail products.
The answer to this catastrophic if not apocalyptic scenario is in the digital rights management (DRM) of 3D assets before they are printed.
How do we implement DRM without killing the 3D printing industry (assuming it can die)?
How do we implement DRM and respect personal privacy?
The monitoring required to protect intellectual property opens the door to numerous concerns including privacy, taxes, laws governing what items are legal to print?
This is a central theme of the Association of 3D Printing. We actively working on solutions to all these problems.