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Author Topic: Monsanto wins in Supreme Court...
al-Qa'bong
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posted 22 May 2004 03:00 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
...and the rest of us lose.

quote:
The vast implications of this case compelled the Council of Canadians, the Sierra Club of Canada, and the National Farmers Union to seek standing in the case. The intervener coalition is devastated by today's results.

"It is horrific what this decision will mean for so many in Canada and around the world," explained Andrea Peart, Director of Health and Environment with Sierra Club of Canada. "This decision doesn't just condemn Percy Schmeiser, it also condemns the broader community. The responsibility of dealing with the environmental contamination of GE genes will now be shouldered by the public, not the polluter.



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Hinterland
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posted 22 May 2004 03:18 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I certainly hope Harper and the neo-cons shriek loudly about judicial activism. This ruling stinks.
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The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 03:32 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If Percy Schmeiser hated GM canola so much, why did he steal the seed and use it? His whole defence of the seed coming into his fields by accident is plain bullshit.
He tried to cheat Monsanto out of the patent fee, then lied like hell and tried to portray himself as the victim when he got caught.
There are plenty of arguements for and against GM foods, but Schmeiser makes a poor poster boy for the anti-GM crowd.

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Doug
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posted 22 May 2004 03:42 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is the decision

There's at least one good thing that came of it, it seems. The damages that were previously awarded to Monsanto were reduced to nothing.


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Rufus Polson
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posted 22 May 2004 03:46 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Oatmeal Savage:
If Percy Schmeiser hated GM canola so much, why did he steal the seed and use it? His whole defence of the seed coming into his fields by accident is plain bullshit.

Bullshit yourself. The stuff spreads. Pretty much all the corn in Mexico even in remote areas is now contaminated with GM genes, for instance.
Try learning something before you shoot off your ignorant mouth, just for once.


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al-Qa'bong
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posted 22 May 2004 03:47 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If Percy Schmeiser hated GM canola so much, why did he steal the seed and use it? His whole defence of the seed coming into his fields by accident is plain bullshit.

So you don't think pollen from a neighbouring field can blow in the wind?

These GM genes are eventualy going to transplant themselves into every canola field (and perhaps into related crops, like mustard) in western Canada.

We don't yet know what impact this will have on the environment.


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The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 03:56 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not and have 95 to 98 percent of the 1000 acre crop being the RR breed.
There are lots of arguements against GM foods, but in this case Percy tried to pull a fast one and got caught. Now he's wrapping himself in the 'anti-GM' flag to garner support for his legal difficulties.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: The Oatmeal Savage ]


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Rufus Polson
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posted 22 May 2004 04:24 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Oatmeal Savage:
Not and have 95 to 98 percent of the 1000 acre crop being the RR breed.

Hmmm . . . you may have a point.
I'm so used to your opinions coming entirely out of your rear with nothing to back them up that I assumed this one was like that too.
But you made an actual point. I'm going to have to ponder.


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Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 04:24 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I can easily envision 95 to 98 percent of a field being contaminated if he saved seed from one generation to the next. The principle is that it is perfectly legtimiate for him to do so, if it was seed that grew on his property. No one should be able to question what he did with it.
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'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 04:31 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm still pondering this, too (I mean this individual case, not the merits or otherwise of genetic engineering by (ptui!) ginormous chemical firms).

Meanwhile, I nominate this:

quote:
I'm so used to your opinions coming entirely out of your rear with nothing to back them up that I assumed this one was like that too.
But you made an actual point. I'm going to have to ponder.

for the Hall of Fame.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 04:43 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not pondering it. It doesn't matter if he self-servingly hunted down all the GM varieties accidentally growing on his fields and maximized their spread. It was Monsanto that turned his field into a patent-violation factory when it couldn't possibly have been one before. The responsibility to prevent spread lies with them. Except that it is perfectly legitimate for farmers to share seed as they see fit.

Consequently, the problem is with the way that patent laws are written, and with the entire notion of gene patents. Industrial patents, you have to build the factory to violate them in any major way. But agricultural gene patents allow companies to prevent what farmers have always done. That's wrong, and no matter how self-serving Mr. Scmeiser might be, it's his right.


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'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 04:48 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Consequently, the problem is with the way that patent laws are written, and with the entire notion of gene patents. Industrial patents, you have to build the factory to violate them in any major way. But agricultural gene patents allow companies to prevent what farmers have always done. That's wrong, and no matter how self-serving Mr. Scmeiser might be, it's his right.

Yes, but as you say, that's how the laws are written. Evidently a majority of Supreme Court judges felt they had no choice but to decide as they did. Were they wrong, according to their legal lights? I have no idea, and in a sense the point is now moot, until opponents of gene patents bring sufficient political pressure to get the laws changed.


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Gil
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posted 22 May 2004 04:57 PM      Profile for Gil   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
get a grip people, all it takes are the residents of a couple of bee hives to cross-polinate an entire field. No one has to steal anything, this just happens, its just nature........and now Monsanto has the rights to this......perhaps there should have been a few farmers on the bench for a reality check.
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Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 05:13 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was mainly objecting (surprise) to OS's characterization of Schmeiser's motives and implied dismissal of the moral background of the case. It may very well be that the laws are written in that way.
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skdadl
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posted 22 May 2004 05:27 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Consequently, the problem is with the way that patent laws are written, and with the entire notion of gene patents.

I think that Mandos is right. OatSav keeps insisting that this is a campaign against GM foods, and that will now certainly become the short-term campaign. The long-term problem is the corrupt notion of "intellectual" property, and the challenges that must be mounted internationally against the system of such laws now existing.


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'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 05:28 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Most non-farmers in Canada are unaware of this, because we grow very much less corn than they do in the US (and, for that matter, most non-farmers in the US probably don't know it either). But big seed companies have had a sort of de facto patent for generations.

I'm talking about hybrid corn, which I believe was first introduced in the 1920s or 1930s. Researchers discovered that by crossing two or more strains of corn, you could produce a crop with an increased yield, better disease resistance, etc. However, this hybrid wouldn't "breed true." That is, saving seed to plant next year would produce a crop without the desirable properties you were after, and probably worse (sparser and less disease-resistant) than either of the varieties it had been hybridized from. It was worse than useless.

Very quickly, then, most corn farmers found themselves dependent on seed companies. (At this point Monsanto, I think, was still just a chemical company. DeKalb was the big name in corn seed; I forget the others. Monsanto may well have got in on this act later though).

Now, this was a product of ordinary plant breeding, not of genetic engineering properly so called. Still, in getting a patent on their genetically-engineered wheat, Monsanto has managed to consolidate, legally, a transfer of power from farmers to agribusiness that was decades in the making.


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skdadl
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posted 22 May 2004 05:56 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'lance, do you mean to tell me that my standard babble lament -- "The real corn is gone! Gone! Repent: the end is nigh, for the real corn is gone!" etc -- has itself been based on illusion, the illusion that the meaty savoury corn I remember from the fifties, now utterly driven out by the sickly sweet stuff, was a mere sterile corruption of lost fertile ancestors? Maybe even tastier ones? That I was never in Eden at all, that Paradise had already been Lost before I ever munched through a cob or six?

Oh, the pain and humiliation. The disillusion. The deep stupidity of the smartest human brains.


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Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 06:00 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I should add a caveat that I myself am not in principle against GM foods. To me genetic manipulation is simply a logical extension of any number of any other technologies. However, the direction of such manipulation depends on who is controlling it and who is benefitting primarily from it.
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skdadl
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posted 22 May 2004 06:10 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Purely and simply logical.

I agree, Spo ... I mean, Mandos.


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'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 06:12 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
'lance, do you mean to tell me that my standard babble lament -- "The real corn is gone! Gone! Repent: the end is nigh, for the real corn is gone!" etc -- has itself been based on illusion, the illusion that the meaty savoury corn I remember from the fifties, now utterly driven out by the sickly sweet stuff, was a mere sterile corruption of lost fertile ancestors?

Er... I'm afraid it probably was, skdadl.

Remember, there are two major kinds of corn out there -- field corn (or cattle-corn), and sweet corn, which is what they feed to humans. (In fact I think cattle-corn would make people quite sick, if they could get it down at all. Too much fibre, or something. If only people had three stomachs, and could chew the cud...).

I don't know the numbers, but probably way more cattle-corn than sweet corn gets grown, particularly in the US. In fact the major reason cattle get raised/fattened on the stuff is that it's cheaper to buy it than to grow it (thanks to massive US federal government subsidies).

(Incidentally, this is also why pop and other sweet stuff sold in the States is generally based on corn sugar, rather than cane sugar).

All that aside, googling on "'sweet corn' hybrid" suggests that sweet corn is a hybrid of one kind or another, and has been for decades. It's only a question of which hybrid or hybrids are more common at any one time.

Incidentally, this page suggests that newer varieties of sweet corn are not necessarily sweeter than older ones -- although some are -- but that they retain their sweetness for longer after harvest, simply because they convert their starch (complex carbohydrate) into sugar (simple carbohydrate) more slowly.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 07:24 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So how did it get to be 95% of his crop? He claims he didn't use Round Up, so what happened to the non Round Up resistant canola? Cross polination, seeds blowing off trucks etc doesn't explain how he got such a high percentage of the GM canola. He used the seed and tried to avoid paying the licensing fee, then he got caught.
Monsanto has a problem here too. If someone who has never grown their GM canola has canola with their gene in it and can't sell it as a non GM variety, they could be held responsible.
Percy is manipulating the anti-GM crowd to help cover his own ass. If you like being used, go ahead and support him, but his defence only changed once the uproar got louder about GM corn and the Europeans got excited about being anti GM.
Don't believe everthing you hear just because it comes from a guy fighting an American corporation, little guys lie too.

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Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 07:27 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You missed the point, OS. It doesn't matter if he specifically bread for 95% RR corn. It's his right to do so. I don't mind being used to defend that, even if it is a losing battle given the way the laws are written. Most people who support him and have followed his story would probably agree with me. The international global-agribusiness star Vandana Shiva has practically made a career out of the principle that farmers ought to be able to breed their own crops regardless of whomever claims to "own" a particular gene sequence in the seed--and rightly so.
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The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 07:38 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But he didn't breed for it. He claims he never used Round Up, so how could he come up with a Round Up resistant variety? Whether you think the laws are right or wrong, Percy is lying. And since he knowingly used that variety of canola, his story of being against GM canola is bullshit. He is simply manipulating people to help his own cause. He is a hypocrite.
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'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 07:42 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Whether you think the laws are right or wrong, Percy is lying.

Even if he is lying, this has no bearing on the validity of Monsanto's case, or of the law. It's irrelevant.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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al-Qa'bong
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posted 22 May 2004 07:43 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
He claims he didn't use Round Up, so what happened to the non Round Up resistant canola? Cross polination, seeds blowing off trucks etc...

Maybe he used Hoe-Grass or a tank mix of Poast Ultra, Muster and Merge. Roundup isn't the only herbicide out there.

I, too, doubt that seeds blowing off a truck would cause much growth. Most farmers tarp their loads.

Was that claim made?


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 07:51 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah it was. The RR canola is pretty specific, it is only resistant to Round Up. There is a good case to be made about GM foods, but Shmeiser is lying. He makes a rather poor poster boy.
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Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 07:52 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He could be lying through his teeth about how he got the RR corn. He could say that it was the moon pixies who came down on ropes of spider silk and magically replaced his crops with RR crops overnight. It doesn't matter. It's his seed, he can grow whatever corn he likes. It's none of Monsanto's business. It's their fault that the genes left the lab (they wanted it to), it's not his fault for growing corn.

Maybe he stole the seed by trespassing on his neighbours' properties and deliberately harvesting it. But then it would be a case of tresspassing and theft from his neighbour, not Monsanto.

This case is only peripherally about GM foods themselves. Otherwise, it is mainly an intellectual property vs. traditional agricultural practice issue.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: Mandos ]


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The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 08:07 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Monsanto makes Round Up, a herbicide, they then developed the variety of canola that was resistant to Round Up. When you bought the seed you signed an agreement to not keep any to reseed. Every farmer in Saskatchewan was aware of that. Shmeiser got a some seed and used it, knowing that it was breaking that contract, or theft. It isn't his seed, you basically sign an agreement to 'rent' the seed.
His defence changed from 'I didn't steal the seed' to 'you can't patent a seed'. As I said before there are good arguements against GM food.
Maybe it just boils down to me not having any sympathy for a crook.

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'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 08:16 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
When you bought the seed you signed an agreement to not keep any to reseed. Every farmer in Saskatchewan was aware of that. Shmeiser got a some seed and used it, knowing that it was breaking that contract, or theft.

In the first place, breaking a contract isn't theft. Theft is a crime; breaking a contract is a tort -- that is, a civil and not a criminal matter.

In the second place, there is such a thing as an unlawful contract. It's not good enough to say "a contract's a contract"; contracts are not sacred, not Holy Writ. There are five elements to a valid contract, one of which is "lawful purpose."

(For example, if we agree that I'll sell you one of my kidneys, and then I back out, you can't seek redress in a court. Parliament in its wisdom has decided that individuals can't sell their organs).

The Supreme Court has found that, with the law as it now stands, the purpose of this contract was lawful. Critics argue that it ought not to be. Parliament can (and in my view should) rewrite the law.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 22 May 2004 08:31 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I hear you. Would it be considered theft of intellectual property or is that just splitting hairs?
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Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 08:48 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's usually called "theft of intellectual property" but it is still a civil issue.
quote:
Shmeiser got a some seed and used it, knowing that it was breaking that contract, or theft. It isn't his seed, you basically sign an agreement to 'rent' the seed.
He claims that (however it spread to most of his property) the original population blew onto his farm as pollen/fell off a truck/etc. So he never really signed anything.
quote:
His defence changed from 'I didn't steal the seed' to 'you can't patent a seed'.
No, this is not changing the argument. The IP theft accusation depends on there being valid IP. The original argument is that he saved the seed that grew on his property, it isn't theft even if it contained Monsanto genes. But it was decided that because Monsanto has a patent, he doesn't have the right to save the seed and replant it as he sees fit.

So what's the next step to prove that theft didn't occur? Prove that there is no property. Hence the challenge to the patent. On the basic principles behind the case, Schmeiser and his allies have been consistent.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 22 May 2004 08:52 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I hear you. Would it be considered theft of intellectual property or is that just splitting hairs?

Well, IANAL and all, but in law I don't think anyone uses expressions like "theft of intellectual property." They might in trying to get public support when talking to the media.

"Copyright infringement" or "patent infringement" or "trademark infringement" would be the legal expressions, I guess. I suspect "intellectual property" is still too ill-defined a term for it to be used in law.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 22 May 2004 08:59 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I suspect "intellectual property" is still too ill-defined a term for it to be used in law.

For the bloody good reason that "intellectual" has nothing to do with it.

Bleeding greedy capitalists wanting to dignify their greediness by calling it "intellectual" ... Tonstant weadah frowed up!


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WingNut
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posted 22 May 2004 09:27 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This might actually be not that bad a decision.
One, unless a farmer uses RoundUp or attempts to profit from the gene, Monsanto has no case for a license fee. This could go along way to silencing Monsanto's threats.

Second, and perhaps more important, this decison could assist the organic farmers suing Monsanto (http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/organicssue011402.cfm) for crop contamination.

[ 22 May 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 22 May 2004 09:39 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And third, the consequences of Monsanto's victory means that farmers will be more wary of Monsanto products on their or their neighbours' fields. It may cause increased Monsanto rejection.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 23 May 2004 04:00 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If I could go broader for just a moment, I would like to chat about the more general question of GM food.
For some time I, like some others on this board, was of the opinion that there's nothing basically wrong with genetic manipulation of crops except its control by corrupt corporations who want to power trip us. And while in theory, in the long term, I still believe that, I've been reading some stuff lately that has convinced me the science itself right now sucks horribly. The most substantial and scathing is called "Seeds of Deception", by Jeffrey M. Smith.

There are stacks of problems with genetically modified stuff. There are many reasons to believe that any given GM organism will have many unintended differences besides the one deliberately programmed in. The most basic problem is that genetic engineering as it is currently practised is based on the idea that each gene encodes for one (1) protein. Problem is, organisms generally have multiple times as many proteins as their genome has genes. Each gene seems in fact usually to encode for a number of different proteins depending on circumstances and what helper molecules are hanging around. So, stick a gene in an organism you know encodes for protein (a), and unknown to you it was probably also making protein b, c and d where it came from. But since that was in a totally different organism and on a totally different location in the chromosomes (cuz the genes get shoved into a random location on the host organism's genome), it's near a totally different set of promoters and inhibitors and helper molecules, so it's probably instead making proteins b, e and f, where e and f may not be proteins that were ever made in either organism before and there's no knowing what the hell they'll do. Plus, having violently inserted this gene in a random location, you may have screwed up the host genome some other way by smushing an existing gene or promoter or something. And there's evidence it may destabilize the genetic structure of the organism, so you get mutation over generations, so even if the current generation tests out safe you don't know about three seasons down the road.

Now in practice, very little testing has been done. In the US, where most of the approvals of GM foods have happened, the US dept. of Agriculture has pulled some interesting shuffles to avoid regulating or testing their safety at all. But what little testing has been done has tended to either indicate that the stuff isn't very safe, or has been tainted by the kind of "research" they were trying to railroad our scientists into producing for the bovine growth hormone scandal, or has managed to suggest the stuff isn't safe despite attempts to taint the science. Sorta like the powder-puff tests they use for missile defence, which the system still fails. Again, what little research has been done on the subject confirms that in practice GM foods show unintended differences that go far beyond whatever trait they were "designed" for. Some more research, to figure out just what's different about some of these GM organisms, might be a nice idea. But it's not being done, by and large. And some of the people who did research raising worries about GM foods have seen their careers trashed, which may be putting a chill on further investigation.

Genetic modification of organisms currently belongs in the lab, as a subject of study. Until we reach a level of sophistication where we can place the genes in specific places on the host organism's genome all nice and tidy, and computer model the effects of all the promoters and molecule splicers in the cell so we know exactly what's going to happen, and what metabolic pathways it's going to impact, it should stay in the lab. I suspect that will take a while yet. For right now, they're shooting a shotgun into a cell and hoping things work out.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 23 May 2004 04:05 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This leads us right back into a discussion of research funding. The only reason why much of this research goes on is that there is an expectation that it will go into the market in the near future. We now live in a political and economic environment wherein it would be hard to get the kind of funding for long-term GM research of the kind you describe.

Alas.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
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posted 24 May 2004 04:03 PM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To return to the case: I do not recall that the question of fact about how the seeds got on his land was ever settled. Presumably because it was irrelevant to Monsanto's case.

Given this decision I would claim (IANAL) that Schmeiser now has a claim against his neighbours for contaminating his fields such that he cannot save seeds.

As a short term piece of legal and political jui jitsu I propose that legislation be passed requiring seed companies to idemnify farmers from such suits. This would be easier to get support for, and would move the wedge on the issue from between farmers to between farmers and the seed companies.


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 24 May 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The arguement that it happened by contamination was rejected because 95 to 98 percent of the crop was RR. The judge didn't believe that that was an accident.

[ 24 May 2004: Message edited by: The Oatmeal Savage ]


From: top of the food chain | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 24 May 2004 04:46 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You've missed the point again (and so, perhaps, did the judge). It doesn't matter how it got to be 95%. How did the first instance of contamination occur? Once the first instance of contamination had occured, it shouldn't matter what Schmeiser did with it or how far he allegedly made it cover his field, if he indeed did it deliberately.

That is the fundamental principle here.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 24 May 2004 08:28 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My family has a farm, though they do not grow canola.

They have had unwelcome, and unkillable, RR canola appearing on their fields in the past few years. They have had it grow on their lawn outside the house.

Though they don't do anything with it, in fact they wish it wasn't there at all, they are now worried that they could be sued by Monsanto for having RR canola growing on their property.

This is a problem, in more ways than one. It's also moving out of anyone's control, including Monsanto and the courts.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 24 May 2004 08:43 PM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In a lot of ways it is Monsanto that could have the problem now. Their canola has contaminated other varieties, which could make them un-marketable to the Europeans or others. I'd think that puts them in a potentially vulnerable position to lawsuits.

There are plenty of other herbicides that kill canola.

[ 24 May 2004: Message edited by: The Oatmeal Savage ]


From: top of the food chain | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 24 May 2004 11:37 PM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rufus raises crucially important issues about the extremely shaky scientific credibility of genetic modification, which go far beyond issues relating to patent laws and corporate concentration of agriculture.

My suspicion is that the whole concept of altering the genetic makeup of living organisms, and thinking we can ever control or predict what will happen, will one day be as discredited and quaint as the idea of alchemists changing lead into gold. We're dealing with systems far too complex to know what the hell we're doing.

(We had a good thread last year about this whole issue, here.)

Thanks for mentioning that "Seeds of Deception" book, Rufus. I'll have to look into it. Sounds a lot like the Barry Commoner article I linked to in last year's thread.

[ 24 May 2004: Message edited by: beluga2 ]


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
saskganesh
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posted 24 May 2004 11:49 PM      Profile for saskganesh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now it gets interesting. Chnage tact. Since the seed in question is Monsanto's property, what happens when the property's owner is charged with trespassing?

Overgrow Monsanto by planting certified organic canola. If you fail a test for GM content, and lose your market, you've can ask Monsanto to pay for littering.

They could take a thousand cuts this way.

I think this "patent on life" business is rather objectional and absurd. So gimp it with class action suits.


From: regina | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 24 May 2004 11:53 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Makes sense to me, saskganesh.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 25 May 2004 12:32 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There are plenty of other herbicides that kill canola.

Yeah, like good old 2-4-D, but wouldn't sprays that kill plants other than canola (such as Hoe-Grass, Poast, etc.) be what are needed here?


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
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posted 25 May 2004 01:39 AM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Percy Schmeiser in Common Ground Jan/04

Kind of found the article totally in keeping with most Common Ground articles (good but rarely self critical). I know speaking with my uncle who has been grain farming in Saskatchewan for 70 years, that he didn't believe that the Monsanto sample got there accidently but regardless he still supported anyone willing to stand up to Monsanto.

quote:
I’d like to explain the main issues of what the Supreme Court will be addressing. I will concentrate on four or five facts out of many.

1. Can living organisms, seeds, plants, genes and human organs, be owned and protected by corporate patents on intellectual property?

2. Who is responsible for the genetically modified traits of noxious weeds that then become resistant to weed killers? We now have these super weeds.

3. Can farmers’ rights to grow conventional or organic crops be protected?

4. Can farmers keep the ancient right to save their own seed?

5. Who owns life?



From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 25 May 2004 01:55 AM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:

Yeah, like good old 2-4-D, but wouldn't sprays that kill plants other than canola (such as Hoe-Grass, Poast, etc.) be what are needed here?



I think he's looking at getting rid of unwanted canola.
If you were growing a cereal in a 2 or 3 year crop rotation cycle, spraying 2-4-D or another broadleaf herbicide would kill off the canola.
Been a few years since I left the farm, I'm not up on all the latest and greatest poisons.

From: top of the food chain | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 25 May 2004 02:04 AM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This may come as a shock to you, but they don't want to spray any -cides in their yard, what with the kids and dogs running around on it and stuff, not to mention the wellwater underneath it.

But they are stuck with this canola that blows in the wind and grows on their land.

The issue is: with this judgement, could Monsanto sue them for having it grow on their land?


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 25 May 2004 02:06 AM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is it the Round Up resistant variety? If so, how do they know that?
From: top of the food chain | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 25 May 2004 02:14 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He said it was RR. I suspect they have RR-using neighbours.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Oatmeal Savage
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posted 25 May 2004 02:24 AM      Profile for The Oatmeal Savage   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If it's growing in the fields, what ever weed control they use, herbicides or cultivation, should kill it. If its in the yard I can't see it being a legal problem, they aren't profiting by having it there.
As far as getting rid of it in the yard, it should be no different than getting rid of non-RR canola, unless they had been using Round Up to control weeds in the yard in the past, which is not an uncommon thing to do. Then it comes down to hand pulling them or plowing them up while cursing Monsanto.

From: top of the food chain | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 25 May 2004 03:30 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Oatmeal Savage:
If it's growing in the fields, what ever weed control they use, herbicides or cultivation, should kill it. If its in the yard I can't see it being a legal problem, they aren't profiting by having it there.

I'm not sure that matters. Patent violation is patent violation; profit isn't necessarily an issue if you're "using" the patented technology. In practical terms Monsanto isn't that likely to come after them--unless they become vocal in speaking against GM crops.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 25 May 2004 07:45 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by arborman:
But they are stuck with this canola that blows in the wind and grows on their land.

The issue is: with this judgement, could Monsanto sue them for having it grow on their land?


They should be proactive, and sue Monsanto for damages for allowing "their" seed to blow onto your parents' property.

Monsanto should have to pay for the labour and time it takes to pull their canola up by the roots. Or better yet, they should have to pay for a lawn care company to come in and do so.

[ 25 May 2004: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
RickW
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posted 25 May 2004 11:28 AM      Profile for RickW     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Oatmeal Savage:
If Percy Schmeiser hated GM canola so much, why did he steal the seed and use it? His whole defence of the seed coming into his fields by accident is plain bullshit.
He tried to cheat Monsanto out of the patent fee, then lied like hell and tried to portray himself as the victim when he got caught.
There are plenty of arguements for and against GM foods, but Schmeiser makes a poor poster boy for the anti-GM crowd.

I think not. If Monsanto cannot control seed drift, why should they still retain rights to their "litter"?


From: Victoria, BC | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
RickW
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posted 25 May 2004 11:36 AM      Profile for RickW     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rufus Polson:

Hmmm . . . you may have a point.
I'm so used to your opinions coming entirely out of your rear with nothing to back them up that I assumed this one was like that too.
But you made an actual point. I'm going to have to ponder.


Most field contamination is destructive to planted crops. In fact, the overwhelming majority of contamination is destructive. But on extremely rare occasions, it has been known that seed drift, or pollen drift, has actually improved a crop. This was more common hundreds of years ago, but hardly seen at all nowadays, as we have reduced crop diversity to a few plants. So I regard seed drift in this case as pure serendipidy! And Percy attempted to make the most of it. Good ol' free enterprise! The court ruling however, allows Monsanto to own every canola field in the nation, as their GM product progressively contaminates the whole thing!


From: Victoria, BC | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 25 May 2004 11:37 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Reminds me of one of my favourite bugbears: satellite signals.

If something of value of yours (satellite signal, canola pollen) is landing, uninvited, on my property and you don't want me to have it or use it, then keep it the hell off my property. Can't do that? Cost you too much money to do that? Tough luck. If it's a "something" then keep it off my property. If it's not a "something" then we have nothing to argue about; I can't possibly be stealing your "nothing", can I?

As I see it, Percy should have every right to sue Monsanto for littering on his property.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
RickW
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posted 25 May 2004 11:42 AM      Profile for RickW     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by arborman:
The issue is: with this judgement, could Monsanto sue them for having it grow on their land?

Potentially yes. I wonder if the Supreme Court has deliberately made this judgement to provide years of work for cohorts of lawyers...........

PS. If marijuana inadvertantly ends up growing on your property through seed migration, you can be fined and jailed for it, even if you do not know what pot plants look like.


From: Victoria, BC | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 25 May 2004 11:48 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
My suspicion is that the whole concept of altering the genetic makeup of living organisms, and thinking we can ever control or predict what will happen, will one day be as discredited and quaint as the idea of alchemists changing lead into gold. We're dealing with systems far too complex to know what the hell we're doing.

For me the problem with these arguments is that we don't really know what we're doing in those dimensions with any technology at all, for the past few millenia. Where do you draw the line? Ultimately, releasing any technology into human use has many totally unpredictable and potentially undesirable effects. Does that mean that we stop?

Things have been getting faster and faster for a while.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Vasil
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posted 11 May 2005 12:02 AM      Profile for Vasil     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All of you should be careful.

Its an established fact that Monsanto hires people to scan all forms of media, including web forums.

They do this to establish pre-emptive aggressive strategies against those who would sue them, publish negative information, or threaten their interests in any way.

So if you read this: Screw off, Monsanto!


From: edmonton, AB | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 May 2005 05:25 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
“Triffids were at large. Sometimes I saw them crossing fields, or noticed them inactive against hedges.” - Day of the Triffids p197

[ 11 May 2005: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 11 May 2005 08:18 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Oatmeal Savage:
Monsanto makes Round Up, a herbicide, they then developed the variety of canola that was resistant to Round Up. When you bought the seed you signed an agreement to not keep any to reseed. Every farmer in Saskatchewan was aware of that. Shmeiser got a some seed and used it, knowing that it was breaking that contract, or theft. It isn't his seed, you basically sign an agreement to 'rent' the seed.
His defence changed from 'I didn't steal the seed' to 'you can't patent a seed'. As I said before there are good arguements against GM food.
Maybe it just boils down to me not having any sympathy for a crook.

I would like to see this contract between Shmeiser and Monsanto, please.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 May 2005 08:45 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fuck Monsanto and their Republican lap dogs in Washington!. Roundup is poisoning the countryside in Colombia.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
EZKleave
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posted 11 May 2005 01:50 PM      Profile for EZKleave        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I believe Schmeisers wife successfuly countersued Monsanto for damages to her organic veggie patch... she had to hire people to manually remove the "weeds" and she got the company to reimburse her for it. Sounds like Monsanto should have left this alone... I believe they even tried to settle out of court because they knew this would be a double edged sword.
I also heard (conspiracy theory I don't completely believe...) that it was an intentional contamination... the presence of the patented gene makes Schmeisers heritage variety of Canola the property of Monsanto... a selectively bred crop perfected over several family generations to thrive with minimal inputs in that region... Bio piracy anyone?
And amen to the satalite singal comparison... if your worried about people illegally decoding the transmission... tight beam it!

From: Guelph, Ontario | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
GJJ
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posted 11 May 2005 03:58 PM      Profile for GJJ        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
1) 95% is way too high for just winds. Any farmer will tell you that.

2) It shouldn't matter so long as he didn't go out and buy the seeds. Once the seeds entered his fields it should be his right to select for certain characteristics, just as he would anything else which appeared on his lands.

The judgement might have been legally correct, but the law should be changed.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 January 2006 08:41 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm bumping this thread because I listened to a speech by Percy Schmeiser on my bus ride home yesterday that just made me burn with rage.

Seriously, this is really, really good listening. I'm not just promoting a podcast here. I remember reading these threads at the time and being annoyed at Monsanto. But I didn't get the full impact - nor was I as impressed with Schmeiser himself - until I listened to this:

http://www.rabble.ca/rpn/rey/45125/

(Just click on "download" and it will open your media player, I think. It's so worth listening to since you're at your computer anyhow. It's a 23 minute speech by Schmeiser himself, an excellent, engaging (and sometimes funny!) speaker.)

[ 05 January 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 05 January 2006 09:47 AM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Welcome to the future.

ALL seeds are owned by chemical companies, they are sold as a package with fertilizer and the necessary herbicides and insecticides. The seeds will not grow alone, they need the package of chemicals sold with them to grow. There is no point in saving seed, it will not grow true and will not grow without the supplements.

This is where the chemical companies are going with this. It is not only these fields, it is every field and every seed.

It is your garden.

And forget organics, once they became profitable enough to organize themselves and create standards the big boys moved in.


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ninja Dragon Slayer
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posted 05 January 2006 10:06 AM      Profile for Ninja Dragon Slayer        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
You missed the point, OS. It doesn't matter if he specifically bread for 95% RR corn. It's his right to do so. I don't mind being used to defend that, even if it is a losing battle given the way the laws are written. Most people who support him and have followed his story would probably agree with me. The international global-agribusiness star Vandana Shiva has practically made a career out of the principle that farmers ought to be able to breed their own crops regardless of whomever claims to "own" a particular gene sequence in the seed--and rightly so.

I am in total agreement with your comments here, Mandos. Even if, as certain persons have suggested, this guy is lying - supporting the right of farmers to breed their own crops, to me, is the right thing to do.

I really have it in for outfits like Monsanto. they have the money, they have the lawyers, and they have the Canadian government in the palms of their hands. As a result, they can sue the tar out of the "little" or "littler guys" and win hands down, because they can out last them.

And, for sure, bees, butterflies and even wasps can easily travel through plant material and cross pollinate. Wind can also carry pollen, and of course our avian friends can "dump" seed.

Although - as someone pointed out (regarding the various hybrid corns) seed from hybridized plants does not come "true".

I have no problem with "breeding" to create a stonger, better plant. What I object to is breeding to include adding herbicides or other chemicals to the plant. Which is what Monsanto does.


From: a place that's safer than Toronto | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tehanu
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posted 05 January 2006 11:30 AM      Profile for Tehanu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by a citizen of winnipeg:
Welcome to the future.

ALL seeds are owned by chemical companies, they are sold as a package with fertilizer and the necessary herbicides and insecticides. The seeds will not grow alone, they need the package of chemicals sold with them to grow. There is no point in saving seed, it will not grow true and will not grow without the supplements.

This is where the chemical companies are going with this. It is not only these fields, it is every field and every seed.

It is your garden.

And forget organics, once they became profitable enough to organize themselves and create standards the big boys moved in.



Hey ACOW,

While I'm totally on side with your feelings, there are a couple of points ...

-- Seeds that won't grow without a package of chemicals sounds like you're referring to "terminator technology" which hasn't been marketed. Monsanto bought a smaller company that held the patent on it but hasn't started selling it yet and probably won't, I suspect because of the (successful, yay!) outcry.

-- Seeds that won't breed true sound like hybrids. As has been mentioned above, hybrid corn has been around for a long time. Hybridization is different from genetic modification as no foreign genes are inserted. There are plenty of problems with current seed marketing, including monoculture and overdependence on chemicals to nurture these fragile little hybrids, but they're not GM.

-- You're dissing organics!
While it's true that there are increasing numbers of bigger companies looking to cash in on the organic premium, the advantages of certified organic growing practices include much improved biodiversity, soil and water conservation, better ground cover, and reduced pollution (it takes a lot of oil to make artificial fertilizers). Plus smaller farmers are finding it more feasible to stay on the family farm if they're making a reasonable return on their labour and investment, which organics helps with. The trick with organics is to buy local as much as possible (somehow that gets forgotten when organic mangoes are in the stores).

All part of a much larger problem of most of us being very, very separated from where our food comes from.


From: Desperately trying to stop procrastinating | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 05 January 2006 12:19 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you for your post Tehanu and I agree with you, "All part of a much larger problem of most of us being very, very separated from where our food comes from."

I realize that what I posted is not currently true but it is where we are heading.

My sweetie and I had a small organic garden farm for five years and these issues are close to my heart and my stomach. I love good food.

I recall the countless volunteer hours spent to establish the standards for organics so that organics would have credibility within the market place. Sadly and predictably those who are now profiting from those standards are once again the mega-businesses. What good is "organic" if it is highly processed and shipped from California?


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tehanu
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posted 05 January 2006 12:56 PM      Profile for Tehanu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, it is too bad that the "local" part of organics seems increasingly ignored. We're busy shipping a lot of the food grown in Canada out of Canada and shipping a lot of food grown elsewhere into Canada. Doesn't make a lot of sense.

I remember having a conversation with someone who didn't get why organic growers were the ones pushing so hard for standards! I'm sure there's a special section of hell reserved for people who falsely label their food as organic, which basically amounts to stealing -- stealing the good reputation carefully cultivated by people who genuinely care about the environment and human health.

What did you farm? And if it's not too personal, I'm interested in why you stopped farming ... I know that it's an immense amount of work but it's always sad to see someone leave it ...


From: Desperately trying to stop procrastinating | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 05 January 2006 01:49 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thread drifting...

We were a garden farm, organic vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. Our neighbour with the big machine took care of the larger field and it was planted to clover.

At the end of one summer, a summer we had grown for others in a Community Shared Agriculture Project, a family member who had not bought a share came out to harvest tomatoes, she listened to my frustrations and said, "I guess you just can't afford to do this".

That statement still resonates for me, she was family and by our standards wealthy, yet she saw no need to contribute nor any conflict in coming out to pick bushels of tomatoes for canning without any offer of paying for them. After all, I had grown too many.

Bottom line, I started to hate people and that is what I couldn't afford.


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
anne cameron
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posted 05 January 2006 02:12 PM      Profile for anne cameron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, that resonates!! My Sweeties' circle of acquaintances was not the same as mine, and , in fact, most people wondered how the two of us ever got together. And how in hell we stayed together!

Then we bought the farm.

Well. People whose faces hadn't been seen in two years arrived, smiling (and empty handed). After a while I got heartily sick of the "oh, you're so LUCKY" refrain. I'd come in from four hours of choring and the cityfolk would just be crawling out of bed...then the rhapsodies would start about the eggs. Oh, you're so LUCKY to have fresh eggs like these..oh, they're so good, oh, just look at the yolks, just...

oh, how LUCKY to have organic free range chicken..oh, it tastes so much better than...

the third year we had the farm we had a discussion and very rapidly the bullshit came to an abrupt end..we hauled'em out of bed when we got up, put shitshovels in their hands and let them find out the actual COST of all that "luck".

amazing how quickly the allure of a country vacation faded. And in direct proportion, my resentment faded.

One thing I still find..."interesting"...it's considered very bad manners to ask someone who works in, say, an office, how much money they make but EVERYONE seems to feel it's just ordinary conversation to ask a farmer...

and I never did get used to having someone drive up in a brand new car, get out wearing expensive clothes, pick their way in their expensive sneakers past the ducks and geese...and then minge, whine, piss and moan about how much it cost for organic free range food...you're chargine HOW MUCH PER POUND? Jesus, you've got a real gold mine here, don't you?

fucker, you're going to feed this to your kids!!!

Think nothing at all of paying how much for a bottle of imported scotch but You want HOW MUCH per pound for...

and one year the husband of a dear friend said he'd met this woman who was having a real rough time and since we had a bumper crop of golden plums could he bring her out to pick some so she could, maybe, jar'em up for the winter, seeing as how there was never anything like that available in the food bank...

out she came with a teen-aged daughter...they ate some plums...kid wanted to ride my horses and got pouty when I said no...took a very small bag of plums home with them...asked if I had any garden produce I didn't need...and I found out later the mom sold the plums in the bar where my dear friends' husband had first met her.

we used to look at each other and burst out laughing, saying "fuck, you'd think it all just grew on trees"...non farmers have no idea at all how much hard work and incredible expense goes into keeping a healthy and productive fruit tree...

but it was absolutely worth it in scores of other ways...the things you learn when you're 24-7 up close and very personal with nature...I had an "agreement" with the crows...our cherry tree was enormous, people said I should cut the top half off, we couldn't get at the fruit anyway...and it took demonstrations to get them to believe that the crows KNEW they could go into that top part of the tree and feast and not be bothered but if they went into "my" part of the tree out came the .22...they even chased off robins (too dumb to make the connection the crows had made). And finding out that a mature shorthorn bull absolutely LOVES his calves..that more than made up for the prattling city visitors...the cows would amble over and the calves would swarm around the old man, he'd lick them and make soft little noises and fuss them and lo and behold all the cows had drifted to the far side of the pasture and were lying in the shade, swishing flies and chewing cud while Beauregard babysat...and when a pack of wolves invaded there was Beau, going after them, fully prepared to die to protect them...but backed up by a llama and three horses who suddenly turned into destriers going into battle...

I'd do it all over again if I were physically able!!


From: tahsis, british columbia | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
rockerbiff
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posted 05 January 2006 02:16 PM      Profile for rockerbiff   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What rock do you live under ?

Plant seeds can float on the wind, stick to someones boot, get eaten and excreted by animals and a hundred other different ways - yet you seem to think Percy had some hidden agenda.

Percy Schmieser is a true Canadian hero, not out of choice but out of circumstance, this guy deserves a medal, not your condemnation.

I apologise I did not look at the original date of this thread, however my words still apply.

quote:
Originally posted by The Oatmeal Savage:
If Percy Schmeiser hated GM canola so much, why did he steal the seed and use it? His whole defence of the seed coming into his fields by accident is plain bullshit.
He tried to cheat Monsanto out of the patent fee, then lied like hell and tried to portray himself as the victim when he got caught.
There are plenty of arguements for and against GM foods, but Schmeiser makes a poor poster boy for the anti-GM crowd.

[ 05 January 2006: Message edited by: rockerbiff ]


From: Republic of East Van | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 05 January 2006 02:58 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you Anne for your brilliance.

Yes, there was much that I loved and learned and am grateful for and I don't regret it for a moment.

My nephew's face, my nephew from north of the tree line, when he discovered that a raspberry picked from a bush was delicious, my niece eating fresh peas one after another, just as fast as her three year old fingers could open them, the morning mist rising off the river, the barn dances...


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 05 January 2006 03:04 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, and one year there were way too many magpies hanging round the yard and I had a little chat with them. I said, "I've never had a gun but some of you have to go and if you don't, I'll get a gun". Within a week about two thirds of them were gone and we got along just fine with the others.

City folks smile to humor me but until your story about the plum tree Anne I've never heard anyone else say something which confirms mine.


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 05 January 2006 03:23 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This goddamned corporation shouldn't even be around anymore. They and the US military owe Vietnam billions of dollars in reparations for the deliberate poisoning of farmland with millions of gallons of dioxin-based agent orange. They're still having kids over there being born with horrible birth defects. Monsanto should pay up and fuck off.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Ryguy
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posted 05 January 2006 04:17 PM      Profile for Ryguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I seem to recall hearing about this case in law school. The problem with the defence was that the Court found that the Defendant had expressly applied "Round-up" to his field to kill all the non-gm plants so he could harvest seeds specifically from the gm plants and then use those seeds in his commercial farming operation. From an equitable standpoint, the Courts may have agreed with a small proportion of windblown seeds, but once the Defendant started killing everything to 'weed' out the Monsanto seed and use it commercially, he ran afoul of the patent.
From: Calgary (under a rock) | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ryguy
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posted 05 January 2006 04:22 PM      Profile for Ryguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:

I would like to see this contract between Shmeiser and Monsanto, please.


Actually he's right. That's how the case was explained to me in my last year Corporate Litigation class in law school. (At least that's the argument made by Monsanto and accepted by the Court, based on the evidence it had)

I don't agree with patenting a seed either, but given the state of the law, I do think Shmeiser was playing fast and loose in the face of his contractual obligations.


From: Calgary (under a rock) | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Brian White
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posted 08 January 2006 05:44 PM      Profile for Brian White   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The value of roundup is that it is relatively safe and it kills all green things. So farmers are not going to be put off by any judgements. Glyphosate is a fact of farming life today.
I came from a farming background. Here are some things of note.
1 Roundup resistance predated roundup ready crops. One of my neighbours sprayed roundup but it couldnt kill dandylions. (before replanting a grass field). She sprayed again and The field became absolutely covered with them. So perhaps the resistant gene was stolen from nature? And transplanted into rr crops?
2 Since the start of agriculture, farmers have saved their seed. Basically that right (earned over 8 or 10,000 years has been taken away by corporations in 30. You can read more on this in maud barlows book. (with the eagle and beaver on the cover)
3 The issue also affects gardners. If you buy a geranium plant in a store, chances are it says "propigation prohibited" on the label.
And how can you legitimitely stop a geranium from propigating? NO cuttings! And NO FLOWERS.
And burn the plant or bury it 6 ft under when you are done with it!
I refuse to buy this stuff and I will be really annoyed if YOU let YOUR pollen infect MY plants.
OK! NO PROPIGATION AND I MEAN IT. Maliciously allowing your stinking patent protected geranium to flower affects my right to grow unpatented plants.
4. And this is one you should note. Roundup contains glyphosate (a plant hormone) as the active ingredient. As far as I know, (i could be wrong) glyphosate is no longer under protection and any company can manifacture it. I think it had 14 years where only monsanto could make it.
That means you should be able to select for glyphosate resistance by spraying glyphosate manefactured by another company without having any agreement with monsanto.
It should be a political issue. And there is an election going on. So, why not try to get your politicians to take a position on it.
Why sign away the rights earned over 10,000 years to grow stuff just because of legal tricksters hired by a big company?
Which political partys have a stand on this issue?
Does a farmer have a right to save seed or not?
Currently to do so legally, he has to invest in gene testing equipment costing millions and put up a clear perspex dome over his farm. That is unnecessary hardship in my view.
I can think of 2 legal precidents for stealing genetic material owned by somebody else.
Quinone and Breadfruit, were i think stolen by agents working for Great Britain from the spanish.
It might even have been in time of peace.
Your thoughts?
Brian

quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
And third, the consequences of Monsanto's victory means that farmers will be more wary of Monsanto products on their or their neighbours' fields. It may cause increased Monsanto rejection.

From: Victoria Bc | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
BlawBlaw
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posted 08 January 2006 11:36 PM      Profile for BlawBlaw     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:

I would like to see this contract between Shmeiser and Monsanto, please.


That would be like me stealing your car and then asking you to produce a bill of sale to proved that I owed you money.

In the end it appears that Monsanto got nothing because Schmeisser did't benefit:

"Their profits were precisely what they would have been had they planted and harvested ordinary canola. They sold the Roundup Ready Canola they grew in 1998 for feed, and thus obtained no premium for the fact that it was Roundup Ready Canola. Nor did they gain any agricultural advantage from the herbicide resistant nature of the canola, since no finding was made that they sprayed with Roundup herbicide to reduce weeds. The appellants' profits arose solely from qualities of their crop that cannot be attributed to the invention."

It's always good to read the actual verdict.

[Edited to remove long URL - Michelle]

[ 09 January 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
VanLuke
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posted 09 January 2006 02:00 PM      Profile for VanLuke     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And it's always goood to use
www.tinyurl.com
for long urls to avoid sidescroll.

Fix it please


From: Vancouver BC | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 09 January 2006 03:29 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
That would be like me stealing your car and then asking you to produce a bill of sale to proved that I owed you money.

You've obviously never parked in a tow-away zone before.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
BlawBlaw
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posted 11 January 2006 01:00 AM      Profile for BlawBlaw     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:

You've obviously never parked in a tow-away zone before.


No, I tend to obey the law. How about you?


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 11 January 2006 08:59 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Troll much? That's illegal in some countries now, ya know.

I should just walk away, but I wanted to say this in my first response, and held back. The 'stolen car' analogy is incredibly stupid. If someone steals a car, the original owner can't drive it anymore. The victim is deprived of a real physical item. This "crime" of Schmeiser's had no impact on the "victim" whatsoever, except to possibly deprive them of one future customer. If anything, it's more akin to copyright infringement than grand theft auto. Get a grip.

[ 11 January 2006: Message edited by: Briguy ]


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brian White
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posted 11 January 2006 07:39 PM      Profile for Brian White   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And the stolen car thing is pretty stupid when a farmer hears it.
Sometimes a farmer doesn not fence his fields properly and his ram or young verile lamb gets through and impregnates a bunch of ewes early. (Which is a feeding and market time disaster)
You know what sometimes happens?
Well, one time my da bought a ram that had previously done that.
We had the vet out a couple of weeks later because the ram was not doing his job.
The vet explained that some farmers deal with an interloping ram with a penknife. (not something that is noticable when you buy one).
And countrys do have noxious weeds legislation.
Ragworth is a weed that kills cattle.
In Ireland and England a farmer can get heavily fined if they allow them to flower.
As far as I know roundup resistant weeds are already a problem. How much longer before monsanto has to do the cleanup?
Does anyone else here in canada manifacture glyphosate? (The active ingredient in roundup).
I would be surprised if it is still a monopoly after all these years.
Brian

From: Victoria Bc | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 12 January 2006 09:05 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ho-kay, then.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
BlawBlaw
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posted 15 January 2006 12:14 AM      Profile for BlawBlaw     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Many people don't understand the whole concept of intellectual property. Yes, copyright infringement is a closer example because that is another form of intellectual property.

Look at the ads that the movie and music industries are running. Unauthorized copying of music or movies is theft.

It's silly to want to see a contract when the whole point of the law suit was because Schmeisser allegedly took something that he didn't have a contractual right to do.

The car theft analogy is appropriate in the context it was used. It may seem stupid to people that don't understand IP.


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 15 January 2006 12:46 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
I would like to see this contract between Shmeiser and Monsanto, please.
Source
quote:
Schmeiser produced a contract that Monsanto gets farmers to sign, calling it "one of the most repulsive contracts on the face of the earth." It states that a farmer cannot use his own seed; must always buy seed from Monsanto; can use only chemicals from Monsanto; must pay Monsanto a $15/acre technology or license fee each year on every acre; if a farmer violates the contract and is fined hundreds or even $1000/acre and must destroy the crop, the farmer cannot tell the press or neighbors about Monsanto’s actions. Also, farmers must allow Monsanto’s police force on their land for three years after signing the contract for one year’s crop growth. "They can ask for your account records, tax records, your farming records, your crop insurance records to see if you’re cheating or not.

A clause in the 2004 contract states that a farmer cannot sue Monsanto. "So they have total suppression of farmers’ rights and freedom of speech," said Schmeiser. "How does Monsanto police that contract? In Canada they hire former RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police); in the U.S. they hire Pinkerton Investigative Service."


I hasten to add that Schmeiser never signed this or any other contract with Monsanto. The case had nothing to do with breach of contract.

[ 15 January 2006: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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Babbler # 1885

posted 16 January 2006 09:51 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BlawBlaw:
Many people don't understand the whole concept of intellectual property. Yes, copyright infringement is a closer example because that is another form of intellectual property.

Look at the ads that the movie and music industries are running. Unauthorized copying of music or movies is theft.

It's silly to want to see a contract when the whole point of the law suit was because Schmeisser allegedly took something that he didn't have a contractual right to do.

The car theft analogy is appropriate in the context it was used. It may seem stupid to people that don't understand IP.


The car theft analogy remains stupid.

The seeds blew onto Schmeiser's land. He did not download them off a Web portal. What he did with them after they invaded his property is open to legal interpretation, but the original 'theft' of the seeds never happened.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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