Pirate Bay founder labels 3D printers "the future of sharing"

Following the news, reported on Pocket-lint, that usage of peer-to-peer networks is down this year compared to legitimate streaming services, much discussion has taken place over what will happen to the file-sharing community.

Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has weighed in on Twitter, pointing at 3D printers as the future. "The future of sharing is here", he said, linking to an open-source 3D printer called "RepRap".

3D printers have been available for some time, but usually cost tens of thousands of pounds. RepRap's materials, on the other hand cost around £450, and you build it yourself. Once you've got one, it's possible to make most of the parts for another identical machine - so they're nearly self-replicating.

Sunde's implication is that the future will see file-sharing networks trade designs for (possibly copyrighted) products. Make a bedside lamp, flyswatter, pair of sandals, plastic wine glass or a coat hook, rather than buying one. The makers say that the next version will even be able to make its own electronic circuitry.

The RepRap design team has followed the Free Software Movement in licensing its design for zero cost under the GNU General Public License. If you want to build one, all the plans are available free on the Web. So, if you fancy making your own wine glasses, there's nothing stopping you. Just don't come crying to us when your RepRap becomes self-aware and endlessly replicates itself, driving you from your home.