What's the Latest Development?

One day soon, supporters of SOPA may seem like people protecting the post office against the threat of email. That's because the future of digital downloading will move quickly beyond music, movies and software into the copying and reproduction of physical objects. The Pirate Bay, a bittorrent site based in Sweden, is currently preparing a new category of downloads that will include design specifications for everyday wares. The move anticipates the further development of 3D printing technology.

What's the Big Idea?

While the entertainment industry represents a lot of money, it is nothing compared to the world's manufacturing base, i.e. most of the world's economy. Should 3D technology advance substantially, we will be downloading and printing our own sneakers in 20 years, say engineers at the Pirate Bay. And if they have anything to say about it, the shoes will be free. In fact, everything will be free. "We’ll be able to print food for hungry people," they conclude. "We'll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal."

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