– Derek Mathers, Business Development Manager, Worrell

Last week, in the 3D printing class I teach at the University of Minnesota, we discussed the legal and ethical issues surrounding the replication of physical goods and intellectual property. Typically, this conversation involves issues like the increasing availability of 3D printable gun files, replicating secret objects from public entities (like the TSA) with 3D scanning, and much more.

One of the more interesting topics we covered that Tuesday evening was a story out of Brazil that may have slipped under the radar during the 2014 World Cup. During a global competition of this magnitude, it is common for marketing teams to get carried away with controversial communications since the audience is so huge. One such firm, Italian media company RAI, created an advertisement that superimposed a blue Italian official World Cup Jersey onto the most iconic statue in Brazil, the 38-meter-tall Christ the Redeemer statue built upon Corcovado Mountain in the 1920’s.As you can see in the video link and image below, RAI created an advertisement that features clichés about Rio such as children, football, and slums – and it ends with the Christ-the-Redeemer statue clad in Italian blue (Antonio Cassano):rai

When the Catholic Archdiocese of Brazil caught wind of this advertisement, they sued RAI for between $5 and $7 million Euros for using the religious statue to promote their nation’s team at the World Cup. In addition to the symbolical disrespect, the Archdiocese accused the Italian network for using an illegal image since they are the exclusive owner of the copyright material and monument. The advertisement was quickly withdrawn by RAI, however the Brazilian Catholic Archdiocese still pursued damages in the form of compensation.

Fast-forward a year to 2015. Students in the NEXT Lab at PUC University of Rio de Janeiro teamed up with Swiss company Pix4D and Canadian drone manufacturer Aeryon to create a digital file of the Christ the Redeemer statue. According to 3DPI.com, this scan took 19 ten-minute flights and 2,090 individual images to enable the team to create a 3D model of the statue on Corcovado Mountain.

This model can now be downloaded and 3D printed by anyone, anywhere. Feel free to download the model, load it up on 3D Hubs, and print it for yourself.

A couple of burning questions that myself and my students are wondering:

  • Where is the Brazilian Catholic Church’s legal team now, and how is this content able to be so freely distributed?
  • With new developments with high-speed 3D polymer printing, should the Archdiocese be worried about the replication of their prized statue in scale models?
  • As the 3D construction technology continues to evolve, will the Archdioceses try to sue someone if they decided to send this model to a 3D construction machine and print a life-size concrete replica of the Christ the Redeemer statue?

These are fascinating questions that only marketers, public workers, and IP lawyers together will be able to answer. In the meantime, we would love to have you (as a reader of Duets) attend the final project for our 3D Printing class to learn a little bit more about 3D printing and Brazil – Tuesday December 8th from 6pm- 8:30pm at the Carlson School of Management Auditorium.