The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has granted a patent to a company headed by a former Microsoft CTO that aims to add DRM to 3D printable objects.
The company, Intellectual Ventures, submitted an application for their 'Manufacturing control system', which forces 3D printers to acquire authorisation before allowing the printing of objects, using a digital fingerprint system.
The emergence of 3D printing has many rights holder worried, that it could make the copying of physical objects as easy as the copying (and sharing) of digital items today. Their fear was heightened when The Pirate Bay launched their "physibles" section, dedicated to providing digital schematics for 3D printers that would allow anything from toys to models to even a copy of Mark Zuckerberg's head, to be 3D printable.
Interestingly, the new patent not only covers the printing of plastic and plastic based items, but also edible items, and even human skin.
And so The Pirate Bay's stated altruistic goals behind their "physibles" section, of being able to one day "print food for hungry people", may seem even more unreachable today, thanks to the new use of an old enemy: DRM.