Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, has announced that while his site will comply with federal orders to halt internationally publishing selling the files via snail mail instead., such compliance comes with a catch. The site will begin
Defense Distributed has undergone a legal battle for years with its publishing of gun-related CAD files. Under President Obama in 2013, the State Department accused Wilson and Defense Distributed of violating the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which are meant to prevent the exporting of defense technology.
Defense Distributed and the State Department wrangled for years over issues of defense and free speech until July 10, 2018, when the federal government offered Defense Distributed a settlement in with the Department of Justice would pay $40,000 of Defense Distributed’s legal fees and allow it to restart its business as usual. But where the feds chose to make peace, several states went to war and 19 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit attempting to block the settlement and seeking a restraining order on the site’s files.
Yesterday, August 27, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued an extension of a temporary restraining order he placed on the site when the request was first made. Lasnik said that the states had showed that they would suffer “irreparable harm” if the CAD files were placed online, noting that the plastic guns are “virtually undetectable.”
“The order is a manifest injustice and literally admits to being an abridgment of the freedom of speech,” Wilson said in a statement.
However, Lasnik’s extension was not total. Dealing with the restraining order alone, Lasnik said that he “declines to wade through” First Amendment issues related to the case. While he forbade the files from being uploaded to the Internet, “they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States.”
It’s on these grounds which Defense Distributed is now selling branded flash drives.
“We’re not desperate for cash, we’re just covering costs,” Wilson said in press conference, according to Ars Technica. “I remember when Radiohead did this, they said they didn’t make real money for this… I don’t expect to either. There’s plenty of people who don’t want this, don’t care, until they see the Attorney General of Pennsylvania doesn’t want you to have it.”
“I’m happy to become iTunes of 3D guns if I can’t be Napster,” Wilson added.
Even in this workaround, the files are not available to anyone who would want to buy them. When Popular Mechanics attempted to get a flash drive sent to New York, a message popped up saying that such purchases were not allowed in the state. The site redirected to a Defense Distributed page noting a “blue wall” which did not allow such purchases.
Wilson called Lasnik’s ruling “hysterical,” saying that “he accepts the plaintiff’s article that the world would end if he didn’t act. But this already happened—we’ve lived in a world where you can download these files from anywhere.”
The attorneys general who emerged successfully from the extension request felt differently.
“Once again, I’m glad we put a stop to this dangerous policy,” said Bob Ferguson, Washington State’s attorney general, who has emerged as a leader in the fight against 3D-printed guns, in a press statement. “But I have to ask a simple question: Why is the Trump Administration working so hard to allow these untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns to be available to domestic abusers, felons, and terrorists?”
Source: Ars Technica
Originally posted on: Popular Mechanics USA