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Product Liability and 3D Printing

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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8 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Rachel Maddow raised this issue recently in the context of weapons.

  2. AndyK says:

    What? Are gun manufacturers selling / releasing their design specs now? I seriously doubt Maddow brought this particular issue— liability for design or product defects, etc. for the secondary (legal or illegal) manufacturer.

    More likely she was raising the hyper-partisan issue of gun manufacturer liability for deaths UNRELATED TO product defect.

  3. Joe says:

    She discussed how the technology involved in 3D printing can be applied to gun manufacture and how this would result in a revolution on how we would (and be able to) regulate them.

  4. Brett Bellmore says:

    I don’t think it’s that much of a revolution; Regulation of firearms is already severely limited by the existence of a black market, bolstered both by a criminal class who use guns, and a population who don’t regard the regulations as legitimate, and hence feel no particular obligation to comply with them. Widespread ownership of home shop equipment capable of manufacturing superior firearms from scratch, and hobby reloading are a factor, too.

    Perhaps 3d printing is more important for the way it shatters the illusion that firearms can be effectively regulated, than for actually impeding the regulation.

  5. AndyK says:

    Joe:

    Okay, I stand (partially) corrected. But the issue here is where specs are publicly available. Buying a gun and surreptitiously copying it could and should never lead to liability for the gun manufacturer. Even in a world where everyone could make such a copy, a liability rule here would simple grind human innovation to a halt: “anything you invent we will hold you liable for.”

    So unless gun manufacturers are releasing their specs, the issue is entirely different.

    Brett: Personally, I agree regulation is futile, but the point is, I think, to make us feel better about ourselves. I think that is a good enough reason to support a law, and I’m happy with many of the entirely ineffective laws we have, because people need to be kept optimistic.

  6. Joe says:

    Is the Borg involved here? No that is resistance is futile.

    I’m not game on the extreme sentiments applied here. Regulation is not futile. It will be applied differently as things changed. How this will work remains to be seen when the things have changed and a new path is taken.

  7. Brett Bellmore says:

    “Brett: Personally, I agree regulation is futile, but the point is, I think, to make us feel better about ourselves. I think that is a good enough reason to support a law, and I’m happy with many of the entirely ineffective laws we have, because people need to be kept optimistic.”

    What you mean ‘we’, white man?” I’m the regulated here, not the regulator, and I assure you having my civil liberties attacked doesn’t make me feel either better about myself, or optimistic.