Whoa!Â That is going to be…Â interesting… and weird… 3D printing pirates?!
Filesharing as we know it involves transferring 0s and 1s that usually turn into pixels and electronic sounds. But if The Pirate Bayâ€™s latest idea takes off, filesharing â€” and digital piracy â€” will get a whole lot more physical.
In what appears to be as much as a publicity stunt as a serious feature, the site has added a new category alongside the usual audio, video, applications, and games. The physibles category is intended for data that either can, or feasibly could, become a physical object.
Specifically the site is thinking of data for 3D printers, a concept that sounds like science fiction but already exists. One company at this yearâ€™s Consumer Electronics Show launched, and is now selling, a $1,749 device that can take a computer 3D model and turn it into a physical object using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the same plastic material used to create Lego bricks. The machine also works with polylactic acid, derived from corn starch.
The PirateBay currently has a dozen torrents for â€œphysibleâ€ files, which appear to be largely or entirely compliant with copyright laws. Itâ€™s certainly at the demonstration novelty stage, with two of the choices including a toy pirate ship taken from the siteâ€™s logo, and a 3D picture of MPAA chief Chris Dodd along with part of the encryption key for Blu-ray discs.
Given the nature of the site and its user base, it will be interesting to see if we ever get to the stage when copyrighted 3D printing design files start getting shared. The Pirate Bay predicts that â€œyou will download your sneakers within 20 yearsâ€, which does make you wonder if one day youâ€™ll be able to get counterfeit Nikes without even needing to find a shady street market.