While the nation identifies with the Super Bowl’s insta-star Left Shark, Katy Perry’s lawyers are apparently more the Right Shark type. They issued a cease and desist letter (see below) to on-demand 3D printing service Shapeways on Tuesday, demanding a 3D model depicting Left Shark be taken down.
Shapeways confirmed the letter and takedown, stating:
It’s a shame because we love our community and always want to be able to support their designs. That’s part of the reason why our work with Hasbro is so fun! It’s allowing fans to create products truly inspired by the things they personally enjoy. We know these things can happen when you have a lot of user-generated content, but hopefully more brands (and celebrities!) will take note and want to work together with fans to create amazing products!
NYU law professor Christopher Sprigman tweeted that he believes Left Shark is not copyrightable because it qualifies as a “useful article,” which would mean it is not protected the same way as an artistic work.
Both Thingiverse and Shapeways are home to scores of ostensibly copyrighted models, including memes. While it’s hard to say who has the rights to sad Keanu or doge, Pokemon figurines are a little more black and white. Both sites have received takedown requests in the past, but designs tend to stay up until a letter arrives.
IP law finds itself in an unchartered space with the rise of 3D printing, though new models are beginning to emerge. Shapeways has entered into partnerships with a few companies like Hasbro that allow anyone to model their characters, and then funnel some of the sale proceeds back to the copyright holder.
If you absolutely must get your hands on a 3D printed Left Shark, Sosa is urging people to download it from Thingiverse before the site receives a similar letter.
@signe sad day to live in.. corporations crushing entrepreneur's little figurines one at the time
— fernando sosa (@Amznfx) February 5, 2015
Left Shark rose to fame during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday. Katy Perry sang “Teenage Dream” among dancing beach balls, trees and two sharks. While Right Shark had the dance down, Left Shark had to improvise a bit. But that didn’t stop him from dancing with everything his little shark heart had to give.
3D print like lawyers aren’t watching, dance like Left Shark.
This story was updated at 2:15 p.m. PT with more details on copyright and Left Shark.