3D Printing and the Murky Ethics of Replicating Bones

“TEN YEARS AGO, it wasn’t possible for most people to use 3D technology to print authentic copies of human bones. Today, using a 3D printer and digital scans of actual bones, it is possible to create unlimited numbers of replica bones — each curve and break and tiny imperfection intact — relatively inexpensively. The technology is increasingly allowing researchers to build repositories of bone data, which they can use to improve medical procedures, map how humans have evolved, and even help show a courtroom how someone died.

But the proliferation of faux bones also poses an ethical dilemma — and one that, prior to the advent of accessible 3D printing, was mostly limited to museum collections containing skeletons of dubious provenance. Laws governing how real human remains of any kind may be obtained and used for research, after all — as well as whether individuals can buy and sell such remains —  are already uneven worldwide. Add to that the new ability to traffic in digital data representing these remains, and the ethical minefield becomes infinitely more fraught. “When someone downloads these skulls and reconstructs them,” says Ericka L’Abbé, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, “it becomes their data, their property.”…”

The Neues Museum is claiming copyright over 3D-printing files of the Nefertiti bust.

“The museum never quite clarified its relation to the scans. But earlier this week, Wenman released the files he received from the museum online for anyone to download. The 3D digital version is a perfect replica of the original 3,000-year-old bust, with one exception. The Neues Museum etched a cop..yright license into the bottom of the bust itself, claiming the authority to restrict how people might use the file. The museum was trying to pretend that it owned a copyright in the scan of a 3,000-year-old sculpture created 3,000 miles away….

While the copyright status of 3D scans of public domain works is currently more complex in the EU, Article 14 of the recently passed Copyright Directive is explicitly designed to clarify that digital versions of public domain works cannot be protected by copyright. …

The most important part is that adding these restrictions runs counter to the entire mission of museums. Museums do not hold our shared cultural heritage so that they can become gatekeepers. They hold our shared cultural heritage as stewards in order to make sure we have access to our collective history. Etching scary legal words in the bottom of a work in your collection in the hopes of scaring people away from engaging with it is the opposite of that.”

Reproductions of Public Domain Works Should Remain in the Public Domain

It has come to the attention of Creative Commons that there is an increased use of CC licenses by cultural heritage institutions on photographic reproductions and 3D scans of objects such as sculptures, busts, engravings, and inscriptions, among others, that are indisputably in the public domain worldwide. A recent example is the 3000-year-old Nefertiti bust … Read More “Reproductions of Public Domain Works Should Remain in the Public Domain”

The post Reproductions of Public Domain Works Should Remain in the Public Domain appeared first on Creative Commons.

3D printing revives skeletal study program at Countway – Harvard Gazette

“Now, staff members at the Medical School’s Countway Library are reviving the initiative with a 21st-century twist. They’re planning to assemble new boxes of replica human bones and skulls rendered through 3D printing in a program they’re calling Beyond the Bone Box….

The library houses an anatomical museum, which is expected to preserve rare anatomical specimens in perpetuity, but as part of the library system, it also has an educational mission. Creating 3D models of rare specimens allows the museum to safeguard the originals while still allowing Countway’s special collections to be used as teaching tools….

“A bone box is mostly about access,” Hall said. “With a collection that has human remains in it … education is critical to your existence. Otherwise this is just a strange horde that you never share, and ethically that’s irresponsible.” …”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Ancient history – modern lessons: Can a new wave of Classics scholars save the world? (Paid Content by University of Warwick from The Chronicle of Higher Education) – The Chronicle of Higher Education

[Note that this piece is not a news piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education, but “Paid for and created by University of Warwick.”]

“This is an incredibly exciting time to study the ancient world Scott argues. Because now new technologies are enabling the advance of research and teaching techniques in classics and ancient history and the subject is shooting off into exciting new areas of study and ways of understanding the people of the ancient world. He explains: “The digital revolution allows us to explore these worlds in more depth or in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Virtual reality brings places and situations to life for us, if we can’t get there in person. 3D printing allows us to recreate artefacts and from there we can recreate scenes from ancient history.” …”

Ancient history – modern lessons: Can a new wave of Classics scholars save the world? (Paid Content by University of Warwick from The Chronicle of Higher Education) – The Chronicle of Higher Education

[Note that this piece is not a news piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education, but “Paid for and created by University of Warwick.”]

“This is an incredibly exciting time to study the ancient world Scott argues. Because now new technologies are enabling the advance of research and teaching techniques in classics and ancient history and the subject is shooting off into exciting new areas of study and ways of understanding the people of the ancient world. He explains: “The digital revolution allows us to explore these worlds in more depth or in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Virtual reality brings places and situations to life for us, if we can’t get there in person. 3D printing allows us to recreate artefacts and from there we can recreate scenes from ancient history.” …”