There is a number of people afraid that 3D printing coupled with 3D scanning technology will result in <echo filter>the end of civilization</echo filter>. Never mind that it will only be able to copy things that don't have separate moving parts, unless you take it apart first, and never mind that Everything is a Remix (totally worth the 30 minutes to watch that) and copying is how innovation happens, there are still those that are afraid that someone with a handheld scanner will be able to scan something and reproduce it at home without compensation.
Well it's happened. And the result is less impressive than you might think.
Bernat Cuni, using a camera, captured images of an Elsa toy on the other side of a window, fed those images into 123DCatch, reproduced a vaguely Elsa-like shape and 3D printed it at home. More photos and 3D view of a textured model on his blog.
Gasp, oh gee, that print looks almost nothing like the model he photographed without buying, I'm sure if he was doing this because his daughter was bugging him for that toy, he entirely failed to satisfy her.
"But this is just the beginning" IP's champions will say. "If we can do this today, what will the future bring?" It's a fair point, and my response is that you should really go back and watch Everything is a Remix. I say bring on the future where it's impossible to make money selling plastic nick-knacks. Go ahead, develop a photo-proof glass or some other ill conceived notion to protect your doo-dads and watch it eat up your bottom line. Or embrace the future and adapt your business model.
I don't normally go for the whole "3D printers are going to change the world" but, to be honest, 3D printers might just change the world.