Square Enix consistently protects its trademarks and copyrights. And still people consistently use them without permission. So it's perhaps not a surprise that an artist selling a Final Fantasy action figure series was shut down when Square's lawyers told his 3D printer to cease and, yes, desist.
CNET has the full story, but what happened is this: Digital artist Joaquin Baldwin was using a New York-based 3D printing service to cut his Final Fantasy VII lineup — sort of how CafePress will put your design on a T-shirt. The figures were stylised to resemble the characters' low polygon-count appearances in the original PlayStation game. Folks raved, the lineup was featured on several sites (including ours) and Baldwin was selling them for between $US14 and $US30, roughly, with price dependent on size.
Baldwin told CNET the set had been available for barely a month, and the attention drawn when he posted the series' secondary set of characters "exploded the Internet" and apparently caught the attention of Square Enix.
Soon, those who had placed orders were receiving an apologetic note from the 3D printing service, Shapeways, which said it had received a cease-and-desist demand from Square Enix and was complying under threat of a six-figure penalty for each willful infringement of a copyright. Baldwin's customers were informed their payment had been converted to a Shapeways store credit, though they were free to send a request for a full refund.
CNET notes that, though fans loved the low-res style of Baldwin's series, Square Enix licenses an action figure set, albeit more realistic-looking and more expensive. It's pretty clear why the publisher would move to shut down something like this.
Kotaku has reached out to Square Enix representatives for comment, and any they make will be updated here. Baldwin discussed the matter in great detail with CNET, which you can read more of at the link.