Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Legal Studies

Reader 1

Ralph A. Rossum

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Rights Information

© 2014 Alexander J. Mendoza



Emerging 3D printing technologies bring with it the potential to transform everyday consumers into manufacturers of every product imaginable. However, this impending wave of newfound technological capability is bound to crash against our present conventional system of laws and regulations. In this paper, the strengths and weaknesses of our current intellectual property framework are examined, and its ability to tackle the future 3D printing market is assessed. Particular attention is paid to our modern formation of copyright and patent law, including an analysis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Repair-Reconstruction Doctrine and other substantial legal protocol. The legal battle between the Napster file-sharing service and the larger music industry is also explored, as it provides key insight into similar intellectual property divergences that may soon drive a stake between 3D printing businesses and more traditional manufacturers of physical goods. Finally, this paper suggests modifications to be made towards traditional sales models, the Repair-Reconstruction Doctrine, the implementation of the DMCA protections, and our application of the Fair Use Doctrine.