3D gun blueprints taken down on US govt's demand, but the Internet already has them

Remember the 3D-printable gun called “Liberator” everyone’s talking about? Yeah, the United States government has asked Defense Distributed, the group that released the blueprints for the gun, to take them down from the their website, defcad.com. The files are no longer available at the website.


Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson received a letter yesterday from the US State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance asking him to take down the blueprints for the Liberator, along with nine other blueprints for firearms components hosted on the site. According to a copy of the letter which Forbes has posted on the site, the State Department says the blueprints have to be examined for compliance with an export control law known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and that Defence Distributed may have violated those laws.


The US govt may have had its way, but you can still get the files (Image Credit: Forbes)



“The Department believes Defense Distributed may not have established the proper jurisdiction of the subject technical data,” the letter reads.


It adds, “Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with the final CJ determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately. Defense Distributed should also review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any additional data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”


The files might no longer be available at Defense Distributed’s website, but any efforts to stop the distribution of the blueprints are too late. The Liberator’s blueprints have already been downloaded more than 100,000 times from Kim Dotcom’s cloud-storage/file sharing service, MEGA and are now also available on various torrent sites. The Pirate Bay, for instance, offers the blueprints for download with about 1,760 seeders and 104 leechers. We don’t know if MEGA will remove the files too, but we don't think that matters, as the files are out there in the wilderness of the Internet.


The Pirate Bay seems to be supporting the distribution of the blueprints. TorrentFreak cites a Pirate Bay insider as saying, “TPB has for close to 10 years been operating without taking down one single torrent due to pressure from the outside. And it will never start doing that.” The insider reportedly also told TorrentFreak that the site welcomes Defense Distributed’s Wilson to start publishing designs on The Pirate Bay.


It will be really interesting to see how anti-piracy proponents take advantage of this situation, as 3D-printable firearms blueprints being freely distributed via torrents will surely give authorities and gun control advocates sleepless nights. But 3D printer technology is only set to grow and this may be the first of many such cases.

Published Date: May 10, 2013 17:29 PM | Updated Date: May 10, 2013 17:29 PM