Earlier this week, Defense Distributed released the blueprints for its 3D-printed gun, posting them to its website, DefCAD.org. Today, that site hosts a notice explaining that the aforementioned files have been pulled at the behest of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls.
According to Forbes, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson yesterday received a letter from the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance asking that he remove the files relating to the "Liberator" as well as nine other 3D-printable firearms components hosted on DefCAD. Wilson, a 25-year University of Texas law student, told the site that while it might be hard to remove the files from public access (they have been downloaded thousands of times), Defense Distributed will do its best to comply.
"We have to comply," he told Forbes. "All such data should be removed from public access, the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers."
Indeed, the message currently present on the DefCAD homepage reads:
"Defcad files are being removed from public access at the request of the U.S. Department of Defence Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information."
The letter from the State Department cites potential violation of gun export laws (specifically, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations or ITARs) as the reason for the take down request and said Defense Distributed should treat the data as ITAR-controlled until it receives final determinations from the Department. But compliance from Defense Distributed doesn't mean the files have completely disappeared. Like Wilson told Forbes, it may be impossible to completely remove the files from public access. TorrentFreak reports that The Pirate Bay and many other file-sharing sites are already hosting the files. Not only that, but TPB says it's happy to have them and has no intention of taking them down.
The DefCAD site is currently being slammed with traffic. We could only gain access a handful of the times we tried to load up the site. That said, Defense Distributed is working on mirrors for downloads so keep checking back.