The next Napster? Copyright questions as 3D printing comes of age
"Thingiverse would likely be immune from a claim of direct infringement, as it merely hosts the 3D design files uploaded by its users. But it could be liable under a theory of indirect infringement (PDF). Anyone who, in the words of the Patent Act, “actively induc[es] another to infringe a patent” may find him or herself indirectly infringing and could also be liable for damages. This has real implications for both Thingiverse and Shapeways. Specifically, as the nature of 3D design files shifts from hobbyist items to popular and commercial ones, such websites will need to do more than passively assume uploaders comply with user agreements that pay lip service to IP laws."