Do you recreate toys or objects on your 3D printers? And if so do these sorts of situations worry you? Or do you strictly steer clear from "recreating" or "re-imagining" objects?
Clive Thompson wrote a piece on WIRED Design about this very topic and a maker who was affected by it:
Last winter, Thomas Valenty bought a MakerBot — an inexpensive 3-D printer that lets you quickly create plastic objects. His brother had some Imperial Guards from the tabletop game Warhammer, so Valenty decided to design a couple of his own Warhammer-style figurines: a two-legged war mecha and a tank.
He tweaked the designs for a week until he was happy. “I put a lot of work into them,” he says. Then he posted the files for free downloading on Thingiverse, a site that lets you share instructions for printing 3-D objects. Soon other fans were outputting their own copies.
Until the lawyers showed up.
Games Workshop, the UK-based firm that makes Warhammer, noticed Valenty’s work and sent Thingiverse a takedown notice, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thingiverse removed the files, and Valenty suddenly became an unwilling combatant in the next digital war: the fight over copying physical objects.
“The DMCA knocked the wind out of me,” he wrote in an e-mail to me. “I haven’t uploaded many of my printable models since it happened."
I don't think this should be an issue, unless you are making money out of revising an existing product (just my opinion). I would think the copyright holder might be flattered, but I guess they are assuming they're missing out on sales.
I think companies like Games Workshop need to understand that efforts by people like Thomas Valenty only bring more visibility and free publicity for their games. If they are worried that 3D Printers will dent their sales, someone should let them know that it's akin to attacking Atila the Hun with a water-squirt gun. Even in the most optimistic scenarios (for 3D printers that is), I doubt there will be enough DIY production capability to beat their sales.
And at the end of it all, its a toy for god's sake! Don't be so grown up about it! :D