Computer Workstation

Ever since the Super Bowl halftime show, the costumed "Left Shark" has gyrated his way into the nation's heart. Not since a fateful office party has such poor dancing propelled someone to such heights of fame. In the week plus since the big game, "Left Shark" has become an internet meme used for just about every conceiveable purpose. You'd even bet money on shark costumes being the big seller this Halloween save for the relatively short lifespan of such novelties. Given the relative lack of longevity of such sensations, it was inevitable that some would try to cash in as soon as possible. One 3-D printer's attempt to do just that has prompted Katy Perry's lawyers to shut him down faster than Amity Island.

Fernando Sosa has been ordered by Katy Perry's lawyers to remove a design for a 3-D printed Left Shark that he was selling through the site Shapeways.com over alleged copyright infringement. In the letter sent to Mr. Sosa, which he posted to Instagram, Perry's attorneys stated:

"(O)ur client never consented to your use of of its copyrighted work and IP, nor did our client consent to the sale of the infringing product. Your unauthorized sale and display of this product infringes our client's exclusive rights, including, but not limited to, infringement of our client's exclusive rights to reproduce, display, and distribute its copyrighted images under the United States Copyright Act as set forth in 17 U.S.C. §106."

Sosa removed the item from Shapeways, where he was selling it for $24.99, and listed the design blueprints on Thingverse for free. In the item listing, Sosa is offering continuous updates to his case. Sosa has retained legal counsel from NYU School of Law professor Christopher Springman and has resumed sale of the figurine at Etsy. Sosa and Springman have also replied to the letter from  Perry's attorneys, calling into question the ability to copyright the costume, as well as Ms. Perry's ownership rights over such material. This case seems to illustrate the legal challenges that may occur as 3-D printing continues to become more cost effective and therefore more accessible to anyone who wants to create a figureine of the next big thing.


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