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Introduction

  • Printcrime came out of a discussion I had with a friend who’d been to hear a
  • spokesman for the British recording industry talk about the future of
  • “intellectual property.” The record exec opined the recording industry’s great
  • and hysterical spasm would form the template for a never-ending series of
  • spasms as 3D printers, fabricators and rapid prototypers laid waste to every
  • industry that relied on trademarks or patents.
  • My friend thought that, as kinky as this was, it did show a fair amount of
  • foresight, coming as it did from the notoriously technosqueamish record
  • industry.
  • I was less impressed.
  • It’s almost certainly true that control over the production of trademarked and
  • patented objects will diminish over the coming years of object-on-demand
  • printing, but to focus on 3D printers’ impact on trademarks is a stupendously
  • weird idea.
  • It’s as if the railroad were looming on the horizon, and the most visionary
  • thing the futurists of the day can think of to say about it is that these iron
  • horses will have a disastrous effect on the hardworking manufacturers of oat-
  • bags for horses. It’s true, as far as it goes, but it’s so tunnel-visioned as
  • to be practically blind.
  • When Nature magazine asked me if I’d write a short-short story for their back-
  • page, I told them I’d do it, then went home, sat down on the bed and banged
  • this one out. They bought it the next morning, and we were in business.