Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Court Orders no Posting on Internet; Cody Wilson Sells Gun Code for Free

A Seattle court prevented Cody Wilson from publishing 3D files on the Internet for free. Wilson obeys. Now he sells the 3D files in thumb drives instead.

Cody Wilson, while complying with a court order requiring the State Department to retreat from a First Amendment legal settlement, has taken another route showing the irrationality of the court decision.

Here is a brief history of this interesting, if silly, attempt to stop the flow of information.

In 2013, Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed showed the technical potential of using 3D printers to make a simple, plastic, one shot pistol. They called it the Liberator. They released the files on the Internet, for free. Shortly after, the State Department ordered them to stop distributing the files on the Internet.  The State Department, under President Obama, argued that distribution of the information on the Internet was an illegal exportation of controlled munitions.

In 2015, Defense Distributed sued the State Department for violating their First Amendment rights.

In 2018, under the Trump administration, the State Department, realizing they would lose the lawsuit, decided to settle with Defense Distributed. They admitted releasing the files on the Internet were not an illegal exportation of munitions.

Furious proponents of population disarmament went judge shopping. They found a compliant Senior District judge in Seattle. He ordered a temporary injunction against the settlement, then made the injunction permanent. His arguments are unlikely to stand on appeal. They delay the exercise of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed's First Amendment rights to post on the Internet.

Two enterprising individuals offered the code for sale, in book form, on Amazon. Amazon took down the offers after a few days.  They gave no explanation. The Washington Post, a supporter of the First Amendment, as long as it is used for leftist causes, was silent on the issue.

Cody Wilson used the notoriety to perform First Amendment judo. He is selling the files on thumb, or "key" drives to anyone who wants them, at the price of their choosing. From
The files, crucially, will be transmitted to customers "on a DD-branded flash drive" in the United States. Wilson also mentioned looking into customer email and secure download links.

Previously, Defense Distributed had given the files away for free, globally.

"I’m happy to become the iTunes of 3D guns if I can’t be Napster," Wilson said, adding that anyone can submit a file to sell on his platform, where they will receive 50 percent of the sales proceeds. Wilson said files uploaded to the platform must "be liquid info," or things like CAD files, blueprints, and schematics. He reiterated users cannot resell materials they don't possess the rights to and that Defense Distributed has already put the infrastructure in place to review user submissions.

Throughout the event, Wilson would periodically check his phone in order to see recent Defense Distributed pay-what-you-want sales. "I've seen a guy pay $15, lots of people paying $1, others are $10, $8 for the AR-15 file," he told the assembled press. "It's very generous, just people who want to support us. See, $0, a free-rider—give me a cent." He said the company has completed "a few hundred" pay-what-you-want transactions thus far.
This is an effective way to counter the use of judges to negate the First Amendment. It makes the judge look silly. It shows the stupidity of the original decision to attempt to censor the spread of legal and widely available information on the Internet.

Proponents of population disarmament are caught in a box of their own making. They cannot stop the selling of the files without violating the First Amendment.

They are shown to be ineffectual and tyrannical, a terrible combination.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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