A new service promises to help rights owners protect their 3D designs by using a streaming distribution model to prevent designs from being downloaded and share. Sendshapes has just been launched, in alpha status, and it promises 3D design creators the ability to "send your 3D Design to friends & customers for one-time print".
Sendshapes, owned by the Californian based company Authentise, allows for one-time prints thanks to a distribution model that streams the design in pieces to the 3D printer on an as needed basis. This negates the need for users to download the entire design, but also prevents users from printing more than one copy or sharing the design online. Once the streamed design has been printed, all traces of the design is removed permanently from the host PC.
Already, some 3D printing enthusiasts have cried foul at what they perceive to be a new form of DRM creeping into the nascent 3D printing scene.
While Sendshapes allows 3D design creators to protect their work, it is done on the basis that the 3D designers have the right to create the designs in the first place. Take for example the recent story of HBO forcing a stop on the sale of a 3D-printed iPhone dock that is based on the iconic sword covered throne on HBO's Game of Thrones.
So it seems the copyright battle over 3D printing has only just started.