Katy Perry is among the pantheon of personalities who have spent their whole lives working to be on top of a now unrecognizable legacy industry disfigured and dying from digitization. Guess what is next? That’s right, digitization is making it’s way to objects. So, if props from your Super Bowl half-time hyper-calculated show (which was made tolerable by a tremendous use of modern technology) become an internet meme, don’t freak out if your dancing #LeftShark becomes a 3D printed model. Or, maybe, don’t let your legal team freak out.
Conversely, I personally believe that, if you are selling a 3D printed model of Katy Perry’s super internet meme Left Shark (what the hell am I writing about right now?), such a response should be expected. Shooting for publicity is fine and a gesture for free speech makes sense for a political artist. But, this proves to me that the Super Bowl is about Super Capitalization. At what other time is the hype so great that the commercials are the highlight of what you are watching? Aren’t they mostly unwanted intrusions? The point is, there is a ton of money floating around the Super Bowl. 140 million people watched it. Some are fans of Katy Perry, and some are not. But everyone’s looking to make a statement or a buck.
Previously, Fernando Sosa, has made controversial 3D models that depicted some useless demagogue politician as a member of the KKK. He has also posted a model of an HBO Game Of Thrones Model he made for his iPhone. Now, he has modeled the Left Shark, put in on Shapeways, and received a cease and desist letter from Katy Perry’s cadre of high-priced lawyers. After having the product removed from the e-commerce site, he has now put it up on Thingiverse right now, which means that it’s on the internet.
What’s interesting here is that the model is uploaded, and now it can’t be taken down because it will pop up on a new site as soon as it’s removed. I could print it at home right now, if I cared to use the plastic. It surprised me when I first saw the story on CNN, that one of the 24-hour political propaganda machines would take time from reeling in viewers with endless fear-based narratives to cover what would be a minor non-story. But Katy Perry is oh-so-hot right now, and I guess she (or her lawyers) wants to send a message: Fan art created by machines must not be made or sold.
So, now, is 3D printing this 3D model is a political statement? The fact that her legal team won’t be able to stop the 3D printing of this model is kind of fun. The more I think about it, the more fun it seems. He describes himself as a political sculptor. He’s trying to make a point about the futility of regulating objects that can be 3D modeled and 3D printed.
Maybe all technology is inherently political. Cody Wilson did it with guns, and you know that those guns files are forever downloadable now, all over the world. Same with Left Shark from the Superbowl. What may happen is that people won’t be allowed to post photos of the Left Shark anymore, because to Makers, regulating 3D models is exactly the same thing.
Fans of Fernando are letting it rip on Twitter, and I just found out that the law firm that harassed him are also responsible for attempting to prevent gay marriage from becoming legal in Florida. All in all, I’m pretty surprised that something involving Katy Perry turned into a relevant technology IP issue for Makers out there. Nice work, Fernando! And nice work, anonymous person(s) in the temporarily famous Left Shark Costume!
Anyway, the Shark 3D Model is here to stay, and yes, we will probably see Katy Perry hocking a plush shark bra, with shark pillows, shark puppets, your own shark pajamas, a shark hat, a 3D printed shark-oh wait…right.