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Intellectual property run amok

From Mother Jones (excerpts)

Intellectual Property Run Amok

IN 1982, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti told Congress that “the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman home alone.”

A DAY AFTER Senator Orrin Hatch said “destroying their machines” might be the only way to stop illegal downloaders, unlicensed software was discovered on his website.

MICROSOFT UK held a contest for the best film on “intellectual property theft”; finalists had to sign away “all intellectual property rights” on “terms acceptable to Microsoft.”

NEARLY 20% of the 23,688 known human genes are patented in the United States. Private companies hold 63% of those patents.

HUEY NEWTON’S widow is trademarking the phrase “Burn, Baby, Burn” for use as a BBQ sauce slogan.

FOR INCLUDING a 60-second piece of silence on their album, the Planets were threatened with a lawsuit by the estate of composer John Cage, which said they’d ripped off his silent work 4’33″. The Planets countered that the estate failed to specify which 60 of the 273 seconds in Cage’s piece had been pilfered.

  • Of all of these things, this is the one that is really significant: “NEARLY 20% of the 23,688 known human genes are patented in the United States. Private companies hold 63% of those patents.” This is an outrageous abuse of the patent system, even worse than the ridiculous patents granted to “one-click buying” and other such “methods”.