Ulrich Schwanitz - Penrose Triangle - 3D Design Takedown

The Penrose Triangle is an “impossible object” created by Oscar Reutersvärd of Sweden in the mid-1930s.Thingiverse, a site where users share 3D designs for printing, received a DMCA takedown notice for a 3D design of the triangle. Who sent this takedown notice? Not Reutersvärd. The sender and alleged copyright owner appears to be one Ulrich Schwanitz. Apparently, Mr. Schwanitz also created a 3D model of Reutersvärd’s triangle and is claiming that the version on Thingiverse violated his copyright. You can see a photo of his version here.

Copyright in what, you might ask—the original image? If someone else created the earlier illustration of this triangle, then Mr. Schwanitz can’t have the copyright in the image unless he somehow acquired it, or an exclusive right, from the owner. Nor can he claim a copyright in the process of converting the image to 3D; it’s a neat trick, but process isn’t protected by copyright. Finally, the rendering in 3D form doesn’t inject enough creativity into the model for Mr. Schwanitz to claim it’s separately copyrightable from the two-dimensional image. What we have here is another apparently baseless DMCA takedown.

The takedown notice (which Thingiverse has posted on its blog) doesn’t even comply with the DMCA, as it lacks an “under penalty of perjury” statement. The statute decrees in this situation that the service provider must advise of and/or help the rights holder to fix the deficiency it does? 512(c)(3)(B)(ii) , but no takedown is required for the safe harbor to apply. We’ll cut Thingiverse a little slack here since apparently it’s the first DMCA takedown notice they’ve ever received, but let’s hope this is the last time they take down content based on a noncompliant notice. Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC, 488 F.3d 1102, 3566 (9th Cir. 2007). Making a false statement under penalty of perjury is meant to deter the sending of false or misleading notices.

Original Title of Threatened Content: 
Penrose Triangle