As 3D printing technology spreads, so do fears of potential abuse. A bill that would put copyright infringement warnings near printers in public libraries is being considered in California, and critics fear hasty legislation may stifle the industry.
Lawmakers behind the bill AB-37 say passage of the proposal would mandate that all state libraries “post a notice on or near the 3D printer that would alert users of the 3D printer of the potential liability of the user for misuse of the 3D printer.” It was unanimously re-referred to committee this week.
While the costs of 3D printers were astronomical a few years ago, the technology is increasingly becoming common in public libraries—often thanks to generous grants and donations. The Sunnyvale Public Library near the San Francisco Bay received a $13,500 Library Services and Technology grant through the California State Library in 2014 to purchase a high-tech printer, and the Mountain View Public Library received a similar award a year earlier. The Young Adult Library Services Association announced in February that it would be helping outfit 100 facilities across the United States with printers, including the Santa Cruz Public Libraries system, and equipment is available to the public for free in San Diego, Sacramento and other Golden State libraries up and down the west coast.