Tech giants have been playing a full court press against Cody Wilson and his codes for 3D-printed guns. It seems everyone is trying to block the code, which is, in turn, forcing still more people to host it. Like the movie says, “You can’t stop the signal.”
That doesn’t mean Amazon, in particular, hasn’t tried. Their web services shut down Cody Wilson’s site due to the presence of the 3D-printed gun files, for example.
But it seems the issue was that the code wasn’t in the right form for the tech giant.
The future of 3-D printed gun files is now being deliberated by a judge in the state of Washington.
At stake is whether or not Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson will be able to republish computer files that would let users print a plastic gun called The Liberator that fires real bullets.
But as the judge deliberates on a hearing that concluded Tuesday, some old fashioned technology — a book — is already for sale with the code on a website run by one of the largest companies in the world.
“You can go to Amazon,” Wilson told Forbes. “The Liberator code is in a book in a couple different formats.”
“The Liberator Code Book: An Exercise in the Freedom of Speech” has been available for $20 since August 1, 2018, the day after a temporary injunction filed by multiple U.S. states prevented Wilson from releasing the files on his own website. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to “fight for free speech and the right to keep and bear arms,” according to the webpage.
Little is known about the book’s listed author C J Awelow, other than a description of his or her intentions for the book posted on the Amazon website.
“The purpose of this exercise is to give a physical analogy between computer code and books. Code is speech. This is a printed copy of .step files for the Liberator, and not much else. Don’t expect a gripping narrative; that’s being played out in the news and the courts.”
This is brilliant.
Wilson has always framed his fight not as a Second Amendment fight, but more as a First Amendment battle. He’s argued that code equals speech and continued to make that argument, an argument that is pretty sound.
By putting the code in book form, it makes it impossible to stop the code from being proliferated legally. Even someone purges the files themselves from the net, the book still exists. As one reviewer notes, “You can’t ban the code without banning the book.”
In this country, book banning isn’t a thing. While some communities or school systems will “ban” a certain book, it just means they won’t stock it in the library. People can still buy the book and read it. The United States is great at many things, but we suck at banning books. Even Amazon is loathed to restrict the sale of books.
Yet if there’s one that will be banned, it’s The Liberator Code Book.
In the process of actually banning it, however, they’ll have to address one very important fact. They’ll have to recognize that by doing so, they’ll be violating two constitutional amendments.
Realistically, I don’t see the book being touched. After all, you can still get a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook (and you can get that on Amazon as well), for crying out loud, and that covers making things that will send you to jail. Making guns is still perfectly legal.
Frankly, this is very well played. I have to applaud this one as it makes it virtually impossible to stop the code from getting out and helps frame the argument as a First Amendment issue. Will anti-gunners be willing to step on the First Amendment to infringe upon the Second? If they are, at what point do we have the same freedom to step on their First Amendment rights?
It seems that Amazon wasn’t all that amused. It seems they have pulled the book from their inventory. It opened for me when I checked the link, but it’s not there now.
I’m quite sure the book will be available for sale somewhere else rather soon, and if so, it’ll still fill the point. If not, well, there are still plenty of places to download the files.