Left Shark in his physical form really doesn’t seem to be worth much literally, sewn from nothing more than simple blue and white fabric. Katy Perry’s sloppily dancing Super Bowl sidekick has indeed managed though to become the center of a complex and curious legal story. The Left Shark skirmish has the potential to set some serious precedence regarding 3D printing and intellectual properties laws — and boundaries.
Due to Katy Perry‘s fame and the exposure of the Super Bowl, the story, which we’ve been following for weeks, is getting more attention than could have ever been conceived in a normal dispute. It could also get very expensive for all parties involved.
Singled out on his own, Left Shark by himself gave one of the most abysmal dance performances in the history of the Super Bowl, and while I don’t think he’ll ever be headlining a venue like that on his own — he is making a darned good splash by himself on Shapeways as a 3D model. He may not be there again for long — but Shapeways has made their position known and is refusing to be pushed around by rock star legal strong arming — at the moment.
While Katy Perry’s lawyers fired the warning shot with the cease-and-desist letter that caused such a stir, 3D printing designer Fernando Sosa (aka PoliticalSculptor) still indignantly — and loudly — defends his right to make 3D designs of the blue and white shark available for sale. And one thing is for sure: all parties involved are getting a lot of exposure and publicity, and yes, we all know what they say about publicity — so for right now, everyone is happy except Perry’s legal team.
As cease-and-desist letters, counter letters, and words fly, the grey area rules right now for the battle in deciding whether or not it’s okay for Sosa to allow his 3D model for sale. Shapeways has explained since Perry’s attorneys sent the cease-and-desist letter asking them to take down the 3D model of Left Shark and since Sosa has sent a counter letter, the item in question can remain up for sale until the matter is dealt with further legally.
Until Perry’s team sends a “properly formatted DMCA Takedown,” according to Shapeways, Left Shark will continue his dance via 3D printing. If you want him, maybe you better catch him now, and shell out your $26.99 for what could be an interesting little investment.
No matter which side you’re on, Katy Perry and Left Shark, along with Sosa’s capitalism, have already created a small slice of history, and who knows how much bigger the story — and legal battle — will grow. It’s certainly not the first story we’ve covered regarding intellectual property, only to find that often legal teams throw out threatening letters without enough to seriously back them up, due to the lack of legal history or precedents regarding the newly burgeoning industry of 3D printing.
What do you think of the legal standoff happening right now? Is it all a bluff? Do you think Shapeways is taking an unnecessary risk by putting Left Shark back up for sale? Tell us your thoughts in the Left Shark is Back forum over at 3DPB.com.