Dr Dinusha Mendis talks 3D printing and the law on BBC Radio 5 Live
19 February 2013
Dr Dinusha Mendis, Senior lecturer in law and co-director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) at BU, was on BBC Radio 5 Live, talking about the challenges which will be faced by intellectual property (IP) laws in the wake of 3D printing.
Dinusha, who has recently published a paper on the issue, was featured on the Outriders programme - which is dedicated to exploring the frontiers of the web.
She told presenter Jamillah Knowles: "In a nutshell, my paper looks at the intellectual property implications of 3D printing, and whether we can learn lessons from the past.
"When I refer to the past, I am referring to the lessons we have learned from file-sharing services, such as Napster and Pirate Bay, and the challenges to intellectual property law - in particular copyright law - and the response to those challenges by the entertainment industry.
She added: "This paper suggests that, rather than focus on stringent IP laws, the future lies in adopting new business models to adapt to this new technology."
Dinusha said that, while printers capable of printing 3D shapes and models are currently quite expensive, prices are constantly coming down.
"Past experience has shown us that law is constantly playing a catch up game with technology," she said.
"This has been evident in the manner that intellectual property law, and in particular, copyright law, has struggled to keep up with internet and online activities.
"The present IP law that we have in the UK was not designed to keep up with such technologies, and regulating 3D printing will be no different."
"So, while 3D printing is set to open doors to new businesses, new jobs and new experiences for consumers, it is also going to create a lot of challenges for IP right-holders and manufacturers of industrial products."
She added that while work has started on looking at laws in this area, "there is still a long way to go."
You can listen to a podcast of the Outriders programme that Dr Dinusha Mendis appears on here
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