shapewaysShapeways recently joined forces with some major established and up-and-coming players in the world of web commerce, open share and source, streaming and more to confront the threat to internet freedom. Shapeways, the thriving 3D design and printing community, Dwolla, Fandor, GitHub, Keen, Mapbox, Imgur, Foursquare, and General Assembly formed a formidable coalition when it submitted to the DC Circuit Court a brief communicating its strong support of not only net neutrality but also robust open internet rules.

Shapeways has long supported net neutrality and was, in fact, closely involved in the most recent review by the FCC of laws concerning net neutrality. In addition to Shapeways’ ongoing involvement in the highly contentious effort to maintain net neutrality, Engine Advocacy has played a critical role in the fight.

Engine Advocacy and Engine Foundation are the two powerful arms of a non-profit organization that conducts economic research and policy analysis research and provides support and advice to technology startups. Engine Advocacy was an instrumental partner in the effort to defeat PIPA and SOPA back in 2012.

Internet or net neutrality is the concept that all data on the internet should be treated the same by both governments and ISPs (Internet Service Providers). There should be no discrimination, including differences in charges based on content, site, user, application, platform, mode of communication, or the type of attached equipment. Concerns about protecting net neutrality are not only economic but also, probably obviously, political.

topic_net-neutralityAdvocates of net neutrality know they can expect ongoing challenges to the laws that hold the line, keeping the internet open. Shapeways explained exactly why they are so concerned about the issue:

“We rely on an open internet to be able to bring 3D printing to the entire internet, not just the internet served by ISPs that decide to approve us. One of the great things about opening a Shapeways shop is that a single shop can connect with anyone, anywhere with an internet connection.”

Shapeways also explained why this open access is so important. In essence, virtually anyone who has the capacity can “build a great app on top of our APIs,” they wrote in the brief. Basically, an API is a set of procedures and functions and procedures that lets you create applications that can access the data and features of a given app, operating system, or other kind of service.

The brief itself precedes the court appearance in Washington, DC scheduled for December 4. In addition to pleading its case–our case–for continued net neutrality, Shapeways and its coalition members are basically educating the Court in terms of what constitutes an open internet and why rules for keeping it open and neutral are so vital to the future of a democratic web.

For more information or updates on developments in the battle to maintain net neutrality, visit Engine and Public Knowledge. We’ll also be updating you intermittently here at 3DPrint.com.

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