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Amazon removes book that reproduced 3D-printed gun blueprints

Defense Distributed, the group behind the blueprints, vows to fight on.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read

This book removed by Amazon.

Screenshot by Marrian Zhou/CNET

Amazon has removed a book that reproduced code for 3D-printed guns from its bookstore, saying the content violated its guidelines.

The 584-page book, called "The Liberator Code Book: An Exercise in Freedom of Speech," reprinted the code for Defense Distributed's plastic gun of the same name, according to The Washington Post. Defense Distributed is an Austin, Texas-based non-profit that researches and designs 3D-printable weapons. 

"This is a printed copy of step files for the Liberator, and not much else," author CJ Awelow wrote on Amazon before the book was removed. "Don't expect a gripping narrative; that's being played out in the news and the courts," the author wrote, referring to an ongoing legal battle over the code's distribution.

In an email, Amazon confirmed it had removed the book for "violating our content guidelines." Amazon declined to comment on how many copies of the book had been sold.

Blueprints for 3D-printed guns have stirred controversy this summer after the government settled with Defense Distributed, allowing the non-profit to distribute its plans online for free. The distribution was halted, however, after 19 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit that prompted a Seattle judge to issue a temporary restraining order last month

Defense Distributed used Amazon's removal of the book to champion its cause, tweeting on Wednesday that the move was "a huge blow to our first amendment."

Awelow said proceeds from the book would be used to support free speech and gun rights causes.

Someone claiming to be Awelow posted to Reddit's r/Firearms channel four days ago. The post said the book had been a bestseller in Amazon's Computer and Technology Education section since its publication.

The post also included the address of a website that hosts the 3D-printed gun plans. CNET downloaded files from the site which appeared to be authentic. 

The publisher of the website didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNET's Sean Hollister contributed to this report.