Friday, February 03, 2006


COPYRIGHT: Is it OK to use Monsanto films -- as long as you like biotech?

The U.S. chemical giant Monstanto Corp. is apparently taking a novel approach the concept of copyright "fair use." If you want to use its promotional videos to promote agribusiness, feel free. But if you want to use the videos in any other context, they're supposedly off limits. Does U.S. intellectual property law allow the rights owner to set the terms of Fair Use?

See the post below:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006 21:29:29 EST
Subject: Re: [ACME Member List] Monsanto videos and Fair Use

Dear all,

Monsanto's online videos "Conversations about plant biotechnology" at have a new copyright notice -

"The consent of the copyright holder to use this material and the images in the published context only is granted solely for the purpose of promoting the benefits of agricultural biotechnology" (emphasis added).

The videos paint a rosy picture of a food system dominated by genetically modified foods, starring farmers who have undisclosed connections to the biotechnology industry and some who also receive significant government subsidies. The videos don't address problems of cross-pollination and terminator technology, the lack of testing for safety, the possible production of allergens and carcinogens, the effects on small farmer, organic production, global markets, the balance of nature and the interactions between ecosystems and agriculture, and so on.

After thinking about this for a while, and then reflecting on how very many lawsuits Monsanto has brought against farmers, I finally decided not to use these videos in media literacy presentations, because I don't want to be sued by Monsanto.

I think the new limits on Fair Use will have an adverse impact on education.

Lesley Becker

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