We still smile at the memory of the hapless Left Shark dancer during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl half-time show. But the star’s lawyers certainly weren’t smiling when they heard that someone was selling a 3D-printed model of the Left Shark costume online. One stern cease-and-desist letter later, and the model was removed from the Shapeways online store for 3D-printed files, although it’s since been posted on rival site Thingiverse as a free download.
“It’s a shame because we love our community and always want to be able to support their designs,” said Shapeways in a statement, noting that this is why it works with brands like Hasbro for officially-licensed models. And that’s the real lesson here: if you’re a globally-famous pop star with a live show involving sharks (or, indeed any other character that people might want to 3D-print) there are deals to be done to sell models AND take a cut of the revenues. That would be a more positive approach than simply getting fan-created models taken down.