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This paper considers the social practices of 3D printing by comparing consumer perspectives and practices with legal scholarship on intellectual property regimes. The paper draws on data gained through a mixed-methods approach involving participant observation, focus groups, and social network analysis of 3D printing file-sharing practices. It finds that while consumers display a level of naivety about their 3D printing rights and responsibilities as individuals, they possess a latent understanding about broader digital economies that guide their practices.
Two basic legal models have evolved to tackle the problem of unlawful P2P distribution: safe harbour and graduated response. This article will discuss the two models, with a focus on the American safe harbour regime and the French graduated response regime. Also considered is the open question of what will occur in Australia in the aftermath of the High Court’s denial of ISP liability in Roadshow Films v iiNet.