“A federal judge in New Jersey ruled that computer code that lets someone produce firearms is not protected speech under the First Amendment.

In the case, Defense Distributed v. Platkin, Federal District Court Judge Michael A. Shipp dismissed the lawsuit that Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation ( SAF) brought against New Jersey’s law banning the sharing of gun computer-aided design files (CAD). Even before the law was passed, New Jersey issued a cease-and-desist letter to the company in early 2018, demanding it stop publishing firearms information that New Jersey residents could access. Defense Distributed has been posting CAD files on its Def Cad website that allow users to print firearms using 3D printers. New Jersey claimed publishing these files broke the state’s public nuisance and negligence laws…

Although case law states that computer code is protected speech (Karn v. U.S. Dep’t of State), Judge Shipp reasoned that not all computer code is protected speech. He claimed that since CAD files communicate with a machine directly with little human interference, it is functional and nonexpressive.”