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article imageThe Pirate Bay to continue offering 3D-printed gun blueprints

By Anne Sewell     May 11, 2013 in Internet
The US Statement Department asked the designer of the Liberator 3D-printed firearm to take down the blueprints from the Internet. However, popular file-sharing website The Pirate Bay is, well, sticking to its guns by keeping the torrent available.
Digital Journal reported on the story of the blueprint of a 3D printed plastic gun, dubbed the "Liberator", which had been uploaded online by Defense Distributed. Soon afterwards the file was banned by the US State Department, but had already been downloaded around 100,000 times. The highest numbers of downloads were in the US and, interestingly enough, Spain, where gun laws are pretty harsh.
In fact, at one stage Spain was leading in the downloads with Cody Wilson, the designer of the gun telling El Pais at the time that “I’m not joking. At this stage, Spain is by far the biggest downloader of the Liberator."
One of the major hosts of the file was Kim Dotcom's new MEGA website, but Pirate Bay was also hosting a copy or two of the torrent.
The US State Department had asked Wilson to take down his blueprints, citing a possible violation of arms export regulations pending review, and Wilson has complied with the demand.
However, while other services have removed the file, Swedish-founded The Pirate Bay (TPB) say that they will not be removing the blueprints for the "Liberator" gun from their servers.
“TPB has for close to 10 years been operating without taking down one single torrent due to pressure from the outside. And it will never start doing that,” a senior spokesperson at TPB told TorrentFreak news portal.
In justifying their actions, TPB is not only quoting free speech, but has also invoked a defense echoed by the National Rifle Association’s unofficial slogan, i.e. "Guns don’t kill people. People kill people." As a TPB spokesperson said, “The problem is not the object but what you do with it. Just as with a cooking knife.”
The blueprints can be used to create an actual functioning weapon using a 3D printer, although costs of printing would be prohibitive. Wilson posted a video on YouTube (above), which has gone viral with almost 6 million views, showing him successfully using the one-shot pistol.
However, it is unclear how safe or practical it would be to use the blueprints to create a gun. In Wilson's case, he used an $8,000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension SST printer. This printer makes three-dimensional objects by ‘printing’ a series of layers on top of each other with polymers.
TPB believes that the blueprints should not be taken at face value, stating: “We laugh at their gun love since it’s so obviously the wrong way to go.” However, they do say that they are a starting point for a public debate on state authority and personal freedoms.
“We think that the good thing about the discussion about 3D printers and their gun laws might bring more focus on the double standards that the US is having and hopefully – people will start printing signs to protest against the guns, the corruption and the threats against freedom of speech that the US is pushing on us,” said The Pirate Bay insider.
Whatever the US State Department demands, and no matter how many copies of the torrent are taken down from the Internet, it is actually almost impossible to remove files from the world wide web once they have been shared.
As long as there is a demand for the torrent, the torrent will be available and at present, the blueprints remain a popular download on most file-sharing websites throughout the world. Copies of the blueprint that have already been downloaded on to users personal computers are also outside of the US State Departments purview.
Meanwhile Wilson is foreseeing legal problems in his future, on questions of online freedoms and the possibilities of open-source 3D printing innovation in a borderless Internet world.
He told technology blog Motherboard, "I'm going to need some high powered legal help, but thankfully a lot of people have pledged support, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation."
"This is not the last time (legal action) is going to happen, so perhaps now it's time to have the fight," he added.
A search on the Pirate Bay for 3D gun blueprints
A search on the Pirate Bay for 3D gun blueprints
TBP screen capture
More about 3D Printer, Gun, Pirate Bay, File, Download
 
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