Today I filed a petition to expand the scope of the current (expiring) rule about unlocking 3D printers. The full petition is here. That follows a petition I filed in July to simply renew the current rule. That renewal petition is here. The petitions are short because the substantive discussion will be reserved for the hearing phase.

In June I wrote that the purpose of this process was to continue to clarify that 3D printer manufacturers cannot use copyright law to prevent people from using third party 3D printer material.

If no one objects to the renewal request, the Copyright Office will recommend that it be renewed without any additional process. If someone does object, they Copyright Office will hold hearings to consider the renewal. Regardless of the status of the renewal petition, the Copyright Office will hold a hearing about the expansion. We should find out reasonably soon if the hearings will include the renewal as well as the expansion, a well as when the hearings will be.

As I explained in my earlier post, the purpose of the expansion is to renew qualifying language from the current rule that brings additional confusion instead of clarity. I hope that no one objects to the expansion, but you never know.

Finally, thank you to everyone who submitted information about printers that:

requires you to purchase printing material (filament, powder, resin, etc.) from the printer manufacturer (or approved vendor)

AND

uses something besides a microchip to verify the source of the material.

These examples will be incorporated into the more substantive filing that is made as part of the hearing phase. If you have an example that fits this criteria and have not already sent it in, it is not too late! Please email me at hello@michaelweinberg.org or dm me on twitter @mweinberg2D. Feel free to send me this information anonymously if you prefer.

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Published on October 23, 2020