Well that didn’t take long. Remember the 3D printed gunÂ (named the Liberator) we told you about a few days ago? Well the State Department heard about it too, and ordered Defense Distributed to take down the files, saying thatÂ the online dissemination of the files could violate restrictions on exporting guns covered by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The following is from the DEFCAD website.
DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls.
Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.
But like all good stories, it doesn’t end there.
Enter The Pirate Bay, a website that provides torrent files to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol. Pirate Bay, which is not a US-based website, predictably is now hosting the banned files, which have no doubt been distributed to thousands of people by now.
The Future of 3D Printed Guns?
In forcing DEFCAD to take down the files, the State Department has ironically ensured the very thing it seeks to prevent: 3D printed guns will live on. All that will happen is that an underground market will rise up around the prohibited item (see Pirate Bay).
Remember alcohol prohibition, the so-called dry movement? It was a complete failure. The War on Drugs? Same thing. Prohibiting the distribution of these files will be no different.Â The government, however, does not easily learn from past mistakes, and because of that this issue is far from resolved.Â Mark my words, there will be laws passed to regulate 3D printing and restrict its uses. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the government do what it always does and enact a licensing program around 3D printing.
All of which will of course be a compete failure, because prohibition of mutually beneficial exchanges, like the exchanging of information, is always doomed to failure.