Indiana Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015

Publication Citation

90 Indiana Law Journal 901 (2015)


This Comment analyzes the regulations in place on 3D-printed firearms and proposes a new standard for regulating 3D-printed goods. Part I provides a brief primer on 3D printing and 3D-printed firearms. Part II turns to the events surrounding Defense Distributed’s creation of the world’s first 3D-printed firearm and the subsequent government censorship of the corresponding CAD files. Part III discusses the regulations affecting 3D-printed firearms and why these regulations are ill-suited for CAD files and 3D-printed goods. Part IV analyzes the implications of treating CAD files and 3D-printed goods as equivalents of traditional goods. Finally, Part V offers a proposal for a new standard of regulating 3D-printed goods inspired by Sony Betamax’s “substantial noninfringing uses”12 standard. Ultimately, this Comment recommends treating CAD files as expressive free speech and suggests logically examining the potential uses of new technologies in order to allow for the organic development of emerging goods and technologies. (introduction)