Intellectually property law, including copyright and patents, is being used (in the US) with increasing virulence to victimize individuals, at a time when our culture should be celebrating the freedom and openness that new technologies in computing and biology can bring.
This idea is illustrated in the documentary movie Food Inc., where lawyers from Monsanto are shown putting patent law to work to monopolize agriculture, and in their wake are tearing apart rural America and destroying the lives of individuals. For example the movie highlights the case of Maurice (Moe) Parr, a seed cleaner from Indiana, who was harassed and financially ruined by Monsanto legal action. The entire profession of seed cleaning seems to have been undone. Here is a discussion-board on Monsanto’s support of seed cleaners.
Then there is the case of Joel Tenenbaum, a file-sharing student whose entire family was threatened and harassed by RIAA law team. The link above leads to very interesting discussion of the law suit and many related copyright cases and the unjust targeting by corporate lawyers.
No matter how the merits of law are argued, the principle of respecting people’s privacy must be paramount. If the enforcement of a law means invading a family farm or confiscating a personal hard-drive, then the law needs to change. Moe and Joel represent a growing number of people that need to be supported and not victimized by sleazy corporate interests.
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