Let’s say you have a 3D printer and you like Dungeons & Dragons. You start creating your own 3D models of monsters featured in the Monster Manual, showcase them on reddit/r/dnd, and share the files with others on Thingiverse, a 3D printing community. And then Wizards of the Coast files a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice, making Thingiverse remove those files.
If you’re a Reddit user going by the username mz4250, this might sound familiar.
Before the DMCA notice, mz4250 created several miniatures inspired by creatures found in various Monster Manuals, and promoted images of them in threads titled “3D Printing the Monster Manual“. Goofy images like the Dread Gazebo appeared alongside basic monsters like the Shrieker, Displacer Beast, and Demons in his imgur albums for weeks. Then the DMCA notice came and his 3D files were removed.
Initially thinking the issue came from basing the designs on WotC’s artwork and despairing that his work might not be legally available again, he contacted WotC to see what could be done. To his surprise, Wizards “want me to continue modeling and printing their monsters” and to make his modeling files available. But because Hasbro, which owns WotC, has an agreement with Shapeways, another 3D printing community, to host and print fan art, they needed the files to be hosted there. “WOTC has pleasantly surprised me this week,” he writes. “I’m happy they were pretty reasonable in the end.”