Last Thursday, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Enter into a legal battle between Distribution Protectiona group that promotes firearms through 3D printing, and the State Department, which aims to stop reprinting relevant CAD files.
The Brady Company is arguing in favor of the governmentwhile the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the side of the Defense Division. The case, Share Defendant v. Department of State, companies on either website that publish CAD files—which would allow foreigners outside the U.S. to print a weapon—violated firearms export laws. While the Defense Division took the files away three years ago, they have since appeared again on BitTorrent sites. The case remains pending 5. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleanswhich has yet to set oral arguments.
“Not only is Plaintiffs’ position reckless and dangerous to the security of Americans at home and abroad, it is inconsistent with US law,” said John D. Kimball, Brady’s corporate attorney. wrote in the new amicus brief. “The Second Amendment does not protect the export of weapons or their normal operation.”
The federal government’s civil suit began three years ago when Cody Wilson and his team, Difefe Distribution, published designs for the “Sniper,” the world’s first 3D handgun.
Within months, the Dividend Defender received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Department of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, said that 10 files, including designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This is despite the fact that these files have already been downloaded hundreds of times and continue to circulate online.
The Shared Defender removed the files for fear of criminal and civil liability. The group also submitted a “commercial cargo lawsuit request” to the State Department, which they hope will pave the way for the publication of the files. After waiting for two years, Shared Security, including the Second Amendment, sue the Department of State and argued that the government’s action was “preemptive restraint”—preventing protests before they took place. In the United States, the Supreme Court has rejected the entire concept of prior restraint.
In 2015, as the case progressed, Difefe Divided and the Second Amendment lost a motion for a preliminary injunction, which they appealed to the 5th Circuit.
While every city means something different
Interestingly, the case seems to turn on whether the files in question are available to people outside the United States.
According to the State Department wrote in its own filing from the beginning of this month:
As far as the State Department is concerned, the Security Division may transfer such files, including by making the files available for US citizens to download on the Internet. This can be done by verifying the citizenship status of those interested in the files, or by other appropriate means to ensure that the files are not disseminated to foreign nationals.
And that announcement, according to Wilson, almost amounted to a victory for his team.
“The government almost gave the farm what it knew were admissions that maybe we could send files to a restricted website,” he told Ars, adding that he had spent “half a million dollars” on this.snake.
Ironically, the issue also depends on what is and is not considered “public domain,” a concept that, despite the same terminology, is completely different from “public domain” in the world of intellectual property. Under the ITARsomething that is “public domain” is simply something that is “generally accessible or available to the public.”
However, because ITAR was written in the 1970s, it does not explicitly consider the Internet as a place where information can be “generally accessible.”
“What about something that (the State Department) clearly doesn’t want but already exists?” Robert Clifton BurnsAn international lawyer who is not yet associated with this case, told Ars.
“In (the state’s) proposed new laws, they’re trying to say that it’s not in the public domain if people don’t have permission from the government to put it on the Internet,” he said. “But once people has this, and it is widely distributed — leaving the idea of checking citizenship on the Internet — (law) in writing as someone from the 1920s moved to the 21st century and for the first time facing technologies such as 3D printer. .”
Defense Distribution also complicates things because, unlike every other company or government entity that would be affected by ITAR, it is a well-meaning organization that wants to release its information as widely as possible.
“My whole goal in starting this company—this is the way to defeat a concept of technology management,” Wilson added. “That without the (Department of Defense) money we develop the files and leave our rights on it, we will publish it to the commons, and it cannot be prevented. The companies cannot ask for it and the government cannot ask him..”
And that may be exactly what the government fears most, Burns said. “I think in the end they’re looking at whacking the Divide defense with a big fine, and this is the pre-game to that.”
State Department lawyers did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.