Bloomberg BNA has a recap of Harvard internet law Professor Jonathan Zittrain talking about 3D printers, which he sees as the future. Zittrain thinks many of the copying/counterfeiting legal issues people are worried about with 3D printers could be avoided with various verification and DRM-style protections.
We could also try to control the use of this technology. “Why not just make it so those printers have to be attached to the internet in order to function,” Zittrain recommended. “They then download ‘IP definitions files’ just like you download virus update definition files for your machines, and it just compares it against files that have been tagged by an army of interns that are looking for Nike swooshes on places like Thingiverse, and if you download the swoosh and try to print it,” it would be flagged by the content ID system and you’d get an error message.