Intellectual Property and Regulation
Edited by Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer
Chapter 2: ‘Back to the future’? From engravings to 3D printing – implications for UK copyright law
This chapter explores the protection of 3D models and 3D CAD files from the perspective of copyright law and considers the copyright issues associated with 3D scanning. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the protection of 3D models as artistic works before moving to a detailed consideration of the protection of CAD files from the perspective of copyright law. In doing so, the chapter explores the current debate on whether it is possible to distinguish between instructions, aesthetics and functions in copyright law, also known as ‘separability’. The EU Software Directive as well as UK cases such as Abraham Moon & Sons Ltd v Andrew Thornber and Others and the US case of Star Atheltica LLC v Varsity Brands Inc et al are drawn upon in seeking an answer. Having done so, the final section of the chapter considers the implications for copyright law as a result of 3D scanning. Arguing that the future potential of 3D scanning will only grow, the chapter ends with suggestions for the future, particularly from the perspective of enforcement.
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