Left Shark, the goofy Jaws-lookalike mascot who overshadowed Katy Perry during her halftime Super Bowl extravaganza by seemingly forgetting his dance moves, is courting controversy for a whole new reason. The "character" is at the centre of a legal battle concerning the creation and distribution of 3D printed blueprints and models.
Following Left Shark's overnight popularity, enterprising designer Fernando Sosa created a printable model of the mascot. He then began selling the blueprints via Shapeways.com, for $24.99 (about £16) a pop.
However, the 30 year-old artist, according to a post on Instagram, was then confronted by Perry's lawyers and told to cease selling the toothy toy. Sosa complied -- but then made the design available absolutely free-of-charge through Thingiverse instead.
"Apparently sharks, palm trees and beach balls are all now copyrighted... anyways I'm making this available to everyone," Sosa posted on the site.
"Now you can 3D print your very own Left Shark. Just make sure you download this file ASAP since just in case it's taken down."
With 3D printers increasingly affordable, the case highlights the future minefield surrounding 3D printed wares. With replicas of basically any physical object you can imagine just a few clicks away, IP lawyers are going to have their work cut out. Digital piracy may soon produce some tangible output for filesharers and with anything fair game for duplication, copyright claims are likely to get more and more outlandish. [BBC]