Wiki Weapon Spawns Copyright-Free 3D Printer Blueprint Search Engine

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Defense Distributed wants to destroy copyright, and dreams of a revolution

Cody Wilson, law student and the founder of a US non-profit Defense Distributed, has announced the creation of a search engine dedicated to finding copyright-free blueprints to use with 3D printers.

Wilson and his organisation previously got into the headlines for sharing blueprints for 3D printed gun parts online. Despite its bad reputation, Defcad, launched by Defense Distributed in December 2012, has skyrocketed to become one of the largest 3D blueprint depositories in the world. Now, the developers want to outfit it with a search engine able to index 3D models from all around the Web.

“A revolution means a revolution”

Among its main objectives, Defense Distributed states the need “to defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court.”

3d-printed-lower-receiverWith this in mind, Wilson and his supporters created Wiki Weapon – “a nonprofit, collaborative project to create freely available plans for 3D printable guns”. Defense Distributed has recently demonstrated a semi-automatic rifle that managed to fire over 600 rounds using parts built in a 3D printer.

Blueprints made by the organisation were famously taken down from the MakerBot website in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and another 3D printer manufacturer – Stratasys – confiscated its equipment when it found out what exactly DD was printing.

In response, Defence Distributed launched Defcad, that holds all of the files related to the Wiki Weapon project, along with models submitted by the public. Today, Defcad models have been downloaded over 400,000 times, proving that not everyone holds the same views on the issues of 3D printing.

The Defcad Search, already called by some the “Pirate Bay of 3D printing”, will considerably expand the availability of blueprints  on the website, and foster exchange of open-source ideas. Alongside Search, DD also plans to introduce peer-to-peer downloads, and promises there will be no takedowns on the website, ever. That includes copyright-related takedowns.

According to Wilson, Defcad stands against intellectual property, copyright, patents “and regulation in all its forms.” He says the potential of 3D printing goes beyond plastic trinkets – it can be “subversive” and provide free access to medical devices, drugs and guns.

To bring this dream to reality, Defense Distributed requires $100,000 in either dollars or Bitcoin, and at the time of writing, it managed to collect just $12,925.

The “revolution” expected by Wilson and his colleagues might be a lot less violent than they think. As Michael Weinberg, vice president of Public Knowledge explains, copying objects is not a new concept: “Since we have had the tools to make objects, we’ve had the tools to copy objects.” However, the expert noted that the advent of quick, easy and relatively inexpensive 3D printing is causing people to think about the technology in a new way.

You can see Wilson’s call to arms below:

 

 

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