Tom Brady might have won the Heisman trophy during last Sunday's Superbowl but the left Shark has emerged as a pop culture phenomenon and has made national headlines.
Fernandez Sosa created a Thingiverse template for the Left Shark, and captioned it with "Download it before it gets taken down." Within days, Katy Perry's highly paid legal team issued a cease and desist letter to the artist who usually prints politically themed sculptures.
This case reminds me of the Napster days, when large, highly-profiting entities were suing individuals for downloading copyrighted music. This is something that really irks me. On one hand, I understand that a creator has the right to profit from his/her intellectual property. On the other hand, some artists/companies feel way too entitled to their share of the pie.
In the case of Metallica vs. Napster, Metallica sought $10 million in damages and demanded that their songs be removed from their diet. Metallica won the lawsuit and over 300,000 users were banned. Napster eventually filed for bankruptcy after a series of lawsuits and a conflicting interest buyout. At the end of the day, Metallica never got their absorbant $10 mil and Internet users found other ways to get music for free. We're not at that level of legal action but this could be the beginning of a series of legal battles for 3D printers. Personally, I am opposed to the sense of entitlement that is driven by these lawsuits, many people who find free ways to consume media either can't afford to pay for it, or wouldn't even watch/listen/read such media if they had to pay for it.
I'm not saying that there is a right out wrong side, but I would really love it if both sides could find a way to mutually benefit from the creation and consumption of intellectual property. Perhaps purchasing the rights to the left Shark 3D design would have been a collaborative solution. Much like music, you can't stop the Internet from spreading information/media/ideas. Hopefully the world, and Katy Perry will learn to embraced outside the box thinking.
As for Sosa, he had this to say:
"Well, it looks like dictators and world leaders like Putin and Kim Jong Un or Chris Christie are much easier to deal with... So I probably will go back to doing pieces about them and other world leaders. All this lawyer crap is very stressful."
By Stephanie Man