Thursday, October 25, 2012

Laws Fix

questionably fashionable, certainly out of touch

A couple things to consider, as we push further into the new frontier:

US court to rule on ReDigi's MP3 digital music resales
By Kim Gittleson, 5 October 2012

Grossly Simplified:
ReDigi resells your 'used' mp3s and 'makes sure' they are deleted from your hard drive. (The same way record stores used to buy back your old CD's, especially after you didn't burn them to blank disk). EMI, a record label, makes money from new music, not used music, and so they have a problem with ReDigi's business model, calling it a clearinghouse for copyright infringement.

"What this case points out is that the copyright statutes were written in an era when works of authorship were only available in tangible form," said Jonathan Handel, an entertainment attorney at TroyGould.

ReDigi's business model was written specifically to bypass these laws, giving EMI a difficult case to work with.

Supreme Court to Rule on Patents for Self-Replicating Products

clipped article:
Imagine a licensing agreement for buying seeds that allows them to be used only once a season. They cannot be resold for planting, and cannot be used for research, crop breeding or seed production.

Those indeed are the terms of seed giant Monsanto’s licensing agreement for its “Roundup Ready” soybeans, regardless of how unnatural the conditions may seem when it comes to farming. This is farming in the age of patented, genetically modified organisms, which in this case concerns soybean crops that withstand herbicide.

The Supreme Court is weighing in on the soybean patents, agreeing to hear an appeal by a Knox County, Indiana soybean farmer who was ordered to pay $84,456 in damages and costs to Monsanto in 2009 for infringing those patents.

Farmer Vernon Bowman’s dirty deed? The 74-year-old bought soybean seed from a local grain elevator that was contaminated with the patented seed, which he used to produce beans on his 299 acres.

“Without reasonable license restrictions prohibiting the replanting of second- and later-generation soybeans, Monsanto’s ability to protect its patented technology would effectively be lost as soon as the first generation of the product was introduced into the market,” the agriculture giant told the high court in a filing.

Farmer Bowman began purchasing Monsanto’s patented seeds in 1999 and, because of the licensing agreement, did not save any of the seed for future planting. But he also bought so-called “commodity” seed from a local grain elevator, which acts as a clearinghouse for farmers to buy and sell seed.

But given that more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted in the area were Roundup Ready crops, the elevator’s seed was contaminated with Monsanto’s patented seed.

[how does this work, exactly? Does he only get sued for a percentage, and how do you calculate that?]

Farmer Bowman planted that commodity seed, which was substantially cheaper to purchase, to produce a second, late-season crop, which is generally more risky and lower yielding. He then used seeds generated in one late-season harvest to help produce subsequent late-season crops.

Monsanto sued him for patent infringement, and he lost.

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