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300k Organic Farmers To Sue Monsanto For Seed Patent Claims

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the corn-is-mine dept.

Biotech 617

microphage writes "Monsanto went after hundreds of farmers for infringing on their patented seed after audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature. Unable to afford a proper defense, competing small farms have been bought out by the company in droves. As a result, Monsanto saw their profits increase by the hundreds of millions over the last few years as a result. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto tackled 144 organic farms with lawsuits and investigated roughly 500 plantations annually during that span with a so-called 'seed police.'"

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I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051023)

A lot of their claims are actually legitimate. A lot of cheap-ass farmers will buy secondhand Monsanto seed from cleaners who take second generation seed from Monsanto crops (sold by other cheap-ass farmers) and sell them at a fraction of Monsanto's price. They're essentially benefiting from all of Monsanto's research and development without paying them a dime.

And I know it's politically-incorrect to bad-mouth the noble American farmer, but I grew up working on farms--and a more cheap-ass, money-grubbing group of people you would be hard-pressed to find. The average farmer I grew up with would climb over his dead mother to save $1. They paid in cash to avoid taxes and unemployment insurance, hired illegals if they could get them (at about half what they paid locals), used all kinds of cheap tricks to inflate their yields, outright lied to the government to up their subsidies, etc. I have no doubt most of the farmers I knew wouldn't have hesitated to use secondhand Monsanto seed if they could have gotten it by hook or crook for even slightly cheaper (this was back before genetic engineering became so big, so it wasn't such an issue back then).

Yes, I have no doubt that some organic farmers are being caught up unfairly in the dragnet. But I also can't blame Monsanto for having these much-maligned "seed police," because there are plenty of farmers out there who would gladly fuck them if they could. Sorry if that complicates the "Noble Farmer vs. Evil Corporation" black-and-white narrative.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1, Interesting)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051067)

Yes, I have no doubt that some organic farmers are being caught up unfairly in the dragnet. But I also can't blame Monsanto for having these much-maligned "seed police,"

Holy contradiciton batman

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051237)

It's not a contradiction. There is a big difference between a farmer who may have some Monsanto crops on the fringes of his fields, and a guy whose entire crop is Monsanto (but who trying to claim it's "just from stray pollination").

BTW, not only is the latter "organic farmer" screwing Monsanto--he is also screwing the consumer, by passing off his genetically modified crops as organic.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051469)

Despite the nonsense that certain organic farmers and various industry groups may claim, the terms "organic" and "genetically modified" are unrelated and in no way mutually exclusive. This is especially true in consumer foods, where the term "organic" is completely unregulated and thus meaningless, beyond than the implicit meaning of "really fucking expensive".

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2, Informative)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051511)

They are organic. Organic signifies no pesticides/etc. Genetically modified is just creative breeding (with some other species of course), but there is nothing *unhealthy* sprayed on them or added to the soil.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051707)

But there might be something unhealthy put in them.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2)

Reapy (688651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051737)

I recall reading/watching something saying that organic farming still used pesticides, but none of the new, probably better, synthetic ones. I guess they were 'natural source' pesticides. I guess wikipedia has a list of some.

Eh anyway, also in the same study I remember that on average it said most organic fruits did have much less pesticides on them when they hit the store, but all things end up equal after you rinse it off under water.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Informative)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051743)

Organic does not mean no pesticides. There are pesticides that are certified organic, see here [wikipedia.org] .

Some organic pesticides can cause cancer. Others are extremely toxic to surrounding wild life due to runoff. Organic pesticides may require more applications than equivalent non-organic pesticides.

I am not saying to not eat organic, but everyone needs to understand what "Organic" does and does not mean. And that term is under constant attack by large scale commercial farming organizations to water it down as much as they can. And most organic farms are not owning up to exactly how much organic pesticides they actually use. Or even disclosing the use of such pesticides.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051761)

National Organic Program: [usda.gov]

"What is organic?
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used."

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051663)

BTW, not only is the latter "organic farmer" screwing Monsanto--he is also screwing the consumer, by passing off his genetically modified crops as organic.

Organic is a designation based on how a crop is grown, and is, in most cases, a way for the farmer to screw the consumer into paying more.

All modern crops are "genetically modified" in some manner, even "organic" (and especially organic, to gain pest resistance without needing pesticides). Nobody grows the same kind of corn that the native americans, or ancient Egyptians, did. The results of Fr. Mendel's work appears in all commercially produced crops.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

nullchar (446050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051669)

It should be possible to perform a statistically significant random sampling of the fields in question - from the fringes to the center - and know for sure who is lying about cross-pollination and who is wrongly getting fucked my Monsanto.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051253)

Yes, I have no doubt that some organic farmers are being caught up unfairly in the dragnet. But I also can't blame Monsanto for having these much-maligned "seed police,"

Holy contradiciton batman

Geseedpo?

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Interesting)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051265)

I'm not entirely sure how this is a "contradiciton". Would you disagree with the following statement:

Yes, I have no doubt that some innocent people are being caught up unfairly in the process. But I also can't blame New York for having these much-malinged "police".

As much fun as it is to bash Monsanto, if we want to change the patent regime, we must do it ourselves. Monsanto is only doing what is best for their shareholders - protecting their patents. I'm not saying that is good or bad, but not expecting them to do so is silly. Having said that, innocent farmers should obviously not fall prey to this.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051307)

It's barely a question of cheapness or theft. What's at stake is the right of a corp to patent a hybrid seed and then force farmers that purposely or inadvertently have copies of that material to settle lawsuits by the patent holder.
99% of farmers are obliterated by lawsuits claiming $100 million in damages. And meanwhile, these seeds are about as healthy as dioxin.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051447)

And meanwhile, these seeds are about as healthy as dioxin.

Exaggerate much?

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051745)

And meanwhile, these seeds are about as healthy as dioxin.

Citation, please.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051075)

Would it be easy to tell through genetic testing whether it was a second hand monsanto seed or a hybrid of it and another breed?

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051431)

It's alive and outside of anyone's control. The plants go where they want to. This is the basic problem with granting patents of this kind. The "product" spreads and infests everyone else's property. Pretty soon, you are stuck planting contaminated seed stock or nothing.

NO. It's it's Monsanto that should be getting judgements against farmers, it's farmers and entire countries that should be getting judgements against Monsanto.

This whole nonsense is like saying that Cheney owns your house just because his dog sh*t in your yard.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051117)

Well, the very fact that second-hand seed is disallowed already is evil. So no grey in this case.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051363)

Yup. First-sale doctrine. A farmer can who whatever the heck he wants with the farm product. He already paid Monsanto for first-hand seed.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051437)

The problem is when they make derivative works.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Funny)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051537)

ButButBut, he didn't BUY the seeds, he LICENSED them!

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051679)

the very fact that second-hand seed is disallowed already is evil

Well, that's a moral question. Just be prepared to accept that removing patent rights to seed will also remove the incentive of companies like Monsanto to engineer crops. That sounds like a good idea to some, no doubt. But remember that lower yields will mean higher food prices. And don't even THINK about using ethanol for gas (it's already very expensive to produce even WITH genetically modified crops).

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051721)

So....win - win and we go back to gas that doesn't destroy motors thus balancing out the lesser output....sounds good to me

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051797)

Annnnnnnd.... whats wrong with that? Seriously?

Did they buy the seed because of the added feature (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051143)

Or did they buy the cheapest seed they could find and it just happened to be monsanto tainted seed.
I dont know what all the features are. I suspect one of them is that it can withstand RoundUp. If
the farmer buys some Monsanto tainted seed and then does not use RoundUp, should he still have
to pay the Monsanto Tax?

Re:Did they buy the seed because of the added feat (4, Informative)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051713)

The first post is a troll. No organic farmer is going to buy Monsanto tainted seed. The tainted seed ruins organic crops. You cannot sell your crop as organic if its contaminated with Monsanto gene. The farms get contaminated by Monsanto crops due to direct seed drift, cross pollination, bees etc. Monsanto knows this so they simply trespass on farmlands and steal samples. Then they sue the farmer out of business.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051149)

It does not matter. You cannot patent life so even if these farmers are using second generation Monsanto seed on purpose they are doing nothing wrong.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051315)

When you say "you cannot patent life", do you mean "you should not be able to patent life"? My understanding is that you can, in fact, patent life other than a fully-formed human being -- all other life forms are patentable. But perhaps I am happily incorrect.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Interesting)

willaien (2494962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051513)

You can even patent body parts - guy found that a hospital patented an unusual genetic quirk of his while studying his blood...

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

tessellated (265314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051701)

Citation needed.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051801)

So if he then gets a child, he'll violate the hospital's patent rights?

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051763)

This reminds me of the native americans, when they first met with the european settlers. They were wondering, "buy land? how can you buy land when it belongs to everyone?"

Well, they got the answer, as long as you have an enforcer, with a big enough club backing you up, you can "buy" anything.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Punchcardz (598335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051399)

You can patent "life" (at least in the US in the form of organisms modified by humans). That ship has sailed a long time ago, see the US Supreme Court case Diamond v. Chakrabarty. You might make a MORAL case that you should not be able to patent things this way. Your statement however, is demonstrably wrong from a legal standpoint.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051417)

It does not matter. You cannot patent life

Yes you can, in a limited way. You can patent genetic modifications. And that's what this is all about.

The problem here is that there's no foolproof way to prevent this variation of copyright infringement. (Monsanto is like the RIAA of the farm) And so they've bought the laws stacked heavily in their favor to make sure they can legally go after everyone they're entitled to, at a cost of being able to go after a lot of innocents as well. (one of my pet peeves, overly broad laws)

In this case the big issue is that if a farmer has a field near a Monsanto field, the wind WILL (not slim chance, not might, not maybe, WILL) cross-pollinate with some of the corn in his field. Then the goons can come in and find a kernel or two that contain DNA from their patented field, and by the law that makes you breaking the law and owing damagesa. So now the little farmer gets extorted out of his land. And that's just how the laws have been bought onto the books. It's not right, but that's the law now.

This isn't like music downloading where 95% is infringing and they're trying to hide under the "5% of it is lawful so you have to allow it" umbrella. There is a significant percentage of "unavoidable unintentional infringing" going on and companies like Monsanto abuse the law to their advantage as a result.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051585)

More correct way to compare it is: ....RIAA is hacking your computer and uploading "illegal!!!" movies and mp3, and then suing you for piracy.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051753)

Monsanto should not have been granted the patent until they could *prove* that their crops can only pollinate with themselves. Then if you are caught using their product, they could have a case.

However, I think the ability to patent any genetic modification, lifeform etc, should be eliminated. Life or modified life should not be patentable, period.

How long until someone is prevented from leaving the country because some patented modification to their DNA, blood, etc, is at threat should they do so? How long until someone is kidnapped so they can be "sampled" by a rival company?

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Spottywot (1910658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051527)

It does not matter. You cannot patent life so even if these farmers are using second generation Monsanto seed on purpose they are doing nothing wrong.

Unfortunately you can patent life, and get away with it it seems. In what you mean though I completely agree, you shouldn't be able to patent life. This isn't even the thin end of the wedge I'm sorry to say, we're living in a ultra-capitalist world where everything is for sale and can be owned, including the blueprints for life. The saddest thing is that no-one seems to be fighting back.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051741)

Monsanto license forbids farmers from reusing seed. And even if Monsanto crops naturally contaminate your crops then you are liable.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051177)

Farmers have been genetically modifying plants and animals for literally thousands of years. If anything, Monsanto should be paying fees to the descendants of every farmer that has ever lived for the rights to re-use their work.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051195)

But the Monsanto patented crops are sterile...

So your claims of second-hand seed, at least for these strains, are complete bullshit.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (5, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051297)

No they aren't sterile. [wikipedia.org] The terminator gene got SO MUCH bad press that they never were able to use it.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051435)

Not sterile, but they don't yield the same fruit as their parents.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051505)

But the Monsanto patented crops are sterile

No, *you* don't know what you're talking about. Monsanto seed is not sterile. Read it for yourself [monsanto.com] , from their own website. They make it pretty clear "Monsanto has never developed or commercialized a sterile seed product."

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051217)

Sorry if that complicates the "Noble Farmer vs. Evil Corporation" black-and-white narrative.

No, it just turns it into a slightly-scummy underdog versus one of the greatest hives of evil in the world. Monsanto has claimed it literally does not matter how their seed ends up in a farm, or if it is being used in any way whatsoever, they will still sue for patent infringement merely by it being present without being purchased. Lookup Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser if you don't believe me. For comparison, this would be like (not just kind of similar, but almost exactly the same as) suing someone for copyright infringement after finding a copy of your virus on their system, which they did not put there, and then winning.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051487)

Time to write a virus that infects computers connected to the internet and sends home their location. Then sue them for having my virus on their computers... profit!!!

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051587)

Lookup Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser if you don't believe me.

Good Lord, not this again.

The farmer discovered that a small portion of his field was contaminated by Monsanto seeds. He then INTENTIONALLY saved the product of those seeds and planted them on his entire farm the next year.

1) He did not get in trouble for having the contaminated crops in his field.
2) He got in trouble because he intentionally kept and planted what he knew (by experimentation!) to be Monsanto GMO seed product.

These are two vastly different issues, and the plaintiffs in this suit are not complaining about what got Schmeiser in trouble.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051231)

It seems that through the water supply, some of our proprietary Dream Mutants genetic material was used, knowingly or not, by the parents of Monsanto employees in producing children. Said children are unauthorized and must be turned in to our biofuels conversion facility immediately.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (3, Insightful)

Wild_dog! (98536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051245)

Except most Organic Farmers I know view GMO seed from Monsanto to be like Kryptonite. Monsanto=Evil incarnate. Not something you would even serve to your dog or any living creature for that matter.

If you are talking about any old farmer, perhaps you could be right in some way, but most people who get into Organic farming are philosophically opposed to businesses like Monsanto. In my experience anyhow. I live in an area where Monsanto and GMO's are kind of worrisome because of the fear of cross-pollination.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051373)

You can't control what the bees do. Cross pollination happens. The Monsanto genes have been found even in countries that have outlawed its use.

On top of this there have been fairly predatory actions by the "seed police" P.I.s. They look closely at *anyone* that does seed cleaning, and if there is any cross pollination they sue. There are even allegations they encouraged cross pollination so they could sue non-customers.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

Wild_dog! (98536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051515)

That is why people are concerned with the unilateral roll-out of GMO's. It affects their crops whether they want to buy the seeds or not.

Apparently, now they have to be worried about getting sued out of business by a big multinational corporation because the corporation's crops are contaminating theirs.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051249)

Man, whatever Monsanto is paying you, it isn't enough. Spoken like a true flak.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051529)

I'm sure they could afford a lot better than me.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051811)

Yes, that's exactly what a Monsanto shill *would* say. ;-)

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051255)

What Monsato needs to do is prevent their seeds from getting loose, as well as the pollen. Cross pollination should be the problem of the patent holder.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051421)

What Monsato needs to do is prevent their seeds from getting loose, as well as the pollen. Cross pollination should be the problem of the patent holder.

No, if you're small or medium sized business and you have a stupid business plan, then you go out of business.

If you're big business and you have a stupid business plan, then you hire the government to make everyone else suffer until you make money.

Are you from the US? This is the same business model as RIAA, MPAA, the entire financial industry, blah blah blah. Not exactly anything new.

Get big, purchase the govt as hired guns, become a parasitical tax on the population.

Nice try, paid Monsanto astroturfer. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051301)

Nice try, paid Monsanto astroturfer.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051313)

Why would I not own the seeds that grew with the rest of my crop?

Does Monsanto also own the fruits, vegetables, leaves, and stalks?

They sold me a product - a product I should have to purchase ONCE, and only ONCE, if I'm any sort of capable farmer.

Why should I shed a tear because that's not the most profitable business model for Monsanto? Maybe they shouldn't have wasted all that time in R&D if it isn't profitable, without absurd IP laws destroying everyone else opportunity?

Because there's not enough forced obsolesence in nature?

Does the company that markets a particular fertility drug own your sperm? Your kids? Your great grandkids?

BTW farmers are "cheap" because they live hand-to-mouth and are always a drought, or frivolous lawsuit, away from bankruptcy, largely due to corporations like Monsanto. Nice straw man you've built there, asshole.

It's bullshit and you know it, you must be a Monstanto PR rep. Which makes you one of the lowest, most worthless piece of human excrement on the planet.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051319)

A lot of cheap-ass farmers will buy secondhand Monsanto seed from cleaners

Are you serious? The farming majority are being litigated out of existence because their neighbors Monsanto GMO corn can be cross-pollinated by natural processes (eg: wind, bees, animals). The farmers have _no_way_ to prevent this. How can they be held liable for that?

Monsanto is pulling sneaky, sleazy copyright sh*t on a bunch of people who are hardly making a living here.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051323)

Most farmers also know that second generation hybrid seeds are useless.

Nonsense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051335)

dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51059-biodiversity-up-for-grabs.html?tmpl=component&print=1

Here's a sample of their 'innovation'. Patenting traditional varieties of naturally occurring seeds in other countries.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051367)

A lot of their claims are actually legitimate.

Do you mean "legitimate" in the sense of "legal"? I can't see any other form of "legitimate" you've used.

A lot of cheap-ass farmers will buy secondhand Monsanto seed

So someone buys something...

from cleaners who take second generation seed from Monsanto crops

...which has been grown from something else...

(sold by other cheap-ass farmers) and sell them at a fraction of Monsanto's price.

...for less than the price someone else sells it at...

They're essentially benefiting from all of Monsanto's research and development without paying them a dime.

By "essentially" do you mean "possibly"? I am "essentially" benefitting from all of the work of every individual ever to exist before me.

As I live in a city with a heavily recycled water supply, I am "essentially" benefitting from everyone else's piss when I drink water. And I'm fairly sure that the human body does more complex waste processing than Monsanto. Do I pay people every time I take the piss? The water somehow belongs to everyone with a kidney, now, right?

captcha: mankind. Ah, yes. Communism. Thank you, captcha generator.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051427)

You, sir, are an asshole.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051457)

So, let me summarize, if someone is terrorist, he has no right of attorney, due process, court, fair process, and the constitution too??????

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051467)

Glad to know that "cheap-ass, money-grubbing" people no longer deserve the full protection of the law, at least in your eyes.

Um... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051473)

There is no way you could of typed all of that in less that 1 minute or the article actualy posting....I smell a shill........

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051479)

Yes, I have no doubt that some organic farmers are being caught up unfairly in the dragnet.

Hm... where have I heard this before?
Oh, yes, MegaUpload was a scummy company that dealt in copyrighted material. So they should be taken down and scattered to the wind (before a trial happens is even better!). And who cares about some stupid legitimate customers that got "caught in the dragnet"? There is probably a car analogy somewhere in here, too.
Coming back to the original topic -- my understanding is that Monsanto was under no obligation to prove that farmers have purposely bought and bred their products. Apparently the presence of patented seeds (that could happen naturally) was enough to win. No one is arguing they should not be able to have right to their product. But they should at least be required to prove intent on the farmers' part.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051483)

Abortion is murder. God created those seeds so that His creations would scatter, reproduce, and grow again.

Captcha: orphaned

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051549)

Oh how nice of you to post at the exact time the article was posted with such verbosity You must be a speed typist. Anyway troll as you can see your attempt to sway the conversation here to the cheap evil farmers has failed. The point that you are intentionally missing is that organic farmers DO NOT WANT Monsanto roundup-ready crops contaminating their crops. When your product must be certified organic then it must be organic. Your shilling for Monsanto completely misses the point. When you use Monsanto seed you cannot save your seed for the next crop you must purchase new seed. The don't want Monsanto seed. This is like saying that Stallman wants his code to be infected with Microsoft's code. They don't want it. period. Monsanto's seed CONTAMINATES the organic farms through direct-seed-drift, bees and the like then sues these farms out of business with patent infringement. Monsanto has also sued seed cleaners out of business. Your drivel is just that... drivel. See here for more information. [youtube.com]

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051607)

Except, of course, that TFA said the audits revealed that the seed in question was the result of animals transporting them or pollination.

That would produce a pattern distinct from deliberate planting.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051629)

:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but a majority of bought-dog politicians are in their pocket, so I won't.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051647)

I agree with you. My own relatives tried to cheat my mother out of her farm.

And as for the objectivity of these articles there is a definite BS factor involved here. The big bad company catches the thieves and we are to feel bad because they come up with a lame defense.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051657)

Can you define "A lot" ?

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051759)

It doesn't matter if even if 99% of the farmers were consciously cheating Monsanto. There is no reasonable way to separate them from those whose crops were planted by creatures or wind -- unless you actually catch the cheater in the act. It is unconscionable to let the law stand by evidence of possession alone.

Furthermore, if Monsanto modifies a gene sequence and patent it, it doesn't matter if the EXACT SAME DNA SEQUENCE has existed in nature for hundreds of thousands of years. The patent is still valid. Monsanto has been persecuting farmers in India who have been growing crops for generations under the false premise they stole a DNA sequence.

The "seed police" are little more than thugs and illegal vigilantes. I would place them under citizen's arrest for trespassing on my farmland if they dared to "audit" me.

Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (4, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051799)

If only brainwashing citizens into being corporate shills were patentable.

I don't give a flying fuck how "legal" what they're doing is, it's wrong. The farmers' unethical labor and business practices is a completely separate issue, and your implication that they somehow deserve Monsanto's lawyer brigade for anything short of literally breaking into Monsanto granaries and stealing seed is ridiculous, as in you deserve to be ridiculed for holding such a stupid belief. Allowing them to be sued for bullshit because they did something else wrong is the very antithesis of justice.

While you're cheering your masters, those of us with a brain in our heads will be laughing them off at every struggle Monsanto and any other company that tries to patent life faces.

Until their cyborg police come bashing in our doors, anyway.

Wait! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051061)

So what you're telling me is, all I have to do is develop an easily identifiable genetic strain of a common farm plant, copyright it, then let it pollinate whatever and wherever it can, and then I can sue EVERYONE? Forever?

Time to start reading up on genetic engineering!

Re:Wait! (5, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051247)

Yes... this is essentially what has been happening. Plus as part of the agreement that small farmers MUST sign they can not keep any of of their crop to be "cleaned" and used for next year's seed. The agreement essentially makes it that the plant is owned by Monsanto. Even if farmers steer clear of Monsanto seed, if there is any cross pollination and the the gene that Monsanto "owns" gets to be part of the crop then the seed police come knockin'.

If you are interested in more information about this and the other evil that Monsanto has been a part of, take a look at the movie and the book "The World According to Monsanto" [wikipedia.org] by Marie-Monique Robin. She tries to be fair, but be aware it's very anti-Monstanto since they used the trick of never talking to her about anything.

Re:Wait! (4, Insightful)

Nugoo (1794744) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051709)

She tries to be fair, but be aware it's very anti-Monstanto[...]

Theses two things aren't mutually exclusive.

Re:Wait! (0)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051293)

No.

Re:Wait! (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051423)

No, you have to make it interesting enough to be patent worthy.
But otherwise, ding ding ding.

Re:Wait! (5, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051465)

It should be possible for the farmers to sue Monsanto, not just as a response to their suits, but for polluting their crops. If Monsanto claims ownership of the genes, then the fact that those genes are trespassing is also Monsanto's fault.

Re:Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051595)

Trespass and littering, certainly?

Re:Wait! (4, Informative)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051615)

You are correct. Actually they patent it. And judges have already ruled that even if your crop is contaminated with Monsanto's strain through direct see drift even if its a fraction of your crop then you Monsanto own your crop. All of it. Google David VS Monsanto for details.

Couldn't happen to a nicer corporation! (5, Insightful)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051159)

300,000 plaintiffs... Monsanto has made a lot of enemies with their tactics. He who lives with the lawsuit...

The FULAW is The FOOLAW is The LAW (0)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051187)

Monsanto pwns US farms, good for them, their corporate-welfare, their faux-capitalism, their ability to write laws and get them passed.

I wish the FU-politicians we elect could do as much for US as Monsanto, ADM .... Our congress get a lot done for everyone, but US folks.

Make some useful GMO's (1)

mombodog (920359) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051197)

I wouldn't mind GMO's if they did something useful like put Viagra in my corn or wheat grains.

Re:Make some useful GMO's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051251)

Best to leave that for the packagers.

Cialis brand wheat bran. The best way to get you up and ready for the day.

Big no for Monsanto (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051215)

As European i still can't understand why your government courage's using of gene-manipulated seeds and actually spreading of Monsantos seeds to nature should be prevented growing that only inside ( i know that is absurd).

This is also something what especially poorest people in south-American suffers most.

This happened in a CSI: Miami episode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051223)

true story.

Correct me if I am wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051259)

So....barring that the geneticly modified seeds can't produce seeds themselfs, Couldn't famers sell the seeds from the plants THEY raised and that is why everyone seems to have them? And wouldn't nature naturally take genetic materials from one plant and give it to another of the same plant...ie...pollination?

Just really confuesd where the line is. I thought genetics could not be copyrightable/patentable???

Patents on LIVING things are total bullshit! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051365)

They bent the law to allow these patents, and this is where we are today! We need to petition our congresspeople to BAN all patents on living organisms!

Something we all should be concerned about... (5, Interesting)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051391)

It's frightening that genetically-engineered crops have become so prevalent as to contaminate small-scale organic farms. The intellectual property arguments are obvious, but more concerning is the health risks. Compared with thousands of years of human agricultural co-evolution, these modifications are nowhere near as thoroughly-tested. Food crops nowadays are even modified to produce their own pesticides! There are likely very consequential side-effects lurking that will only appear generations later. Organic farmers, the ones that don't cheat, are doing us all a service by maintaining pure strains of our most important crops. Surely everyone should want to support this and protect them against contamination.

whoa, man, like, go _natural_ (5, Insightful)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051735)

For all those who think that because they can't see the problems with GMO there's nothing to worry about, this is one of the most important things to grasp.

Compared with thousands of years of human agricultural co-evolution, these modifications are nowhere near as thoroughly-tested.

Millennia of co-evolution is why all those soft-headed hippies are so keen on "whoa, man, natural". It's extremely thorough testing of interoperability. Not only that, it's continued refinement, of both plants and humans, so that the co-evolved plants approach ideal foods for the co-evolved humans. Ironically, rather a sophisticated scientific concept that these hippies grokked out intuitively.

It's not necessarily Luddite or anti-technology to be opposed to GMO and other "scientific" advances in food. Opposition may be based on a deeper understanding of how these systems operate.

The contempt that GMO advocates have for their opposition is embarrassingly hypocritical. It's a special kind of ignorance that leads one to believe that a lack of seeing problems is the same thing as an actual absence of problems. Folks, these are complex systems.

"What could possibly go wrong?"

No, it isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051775)

It's frightening that genetically-engineered crops have become so prevalent as to contaminate small-scale organic farms.

Genetically engineered crops have been around since the days of Mendel.

Compared with thousands of years of human agricultural co-evolution, these modifications are nowhere near as thoroughly-tested.

They rather are. Have people eaten them? Yes. About all the testing that has been done for the vast majority of humanity's lifespan.

There are likely very consequential side-effects lurking that will only appear generations later.

No, there aren't.

Organic farmers, the ones that don't cheat, are doing us all a service by maintaining pure strains of our most important crops.

Pure strains? Now there's a risk. One that genetically modified crops share, but so does anyone whining about pure strains. Genetic diversity is a good thing, unless you like being left with a single type of banana and a bunch of moldy potatos.

Take this with a grain of salt (3, Insightful)

HtR (240250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051405)

I don't know rt.com, but it seems to tend toward the sensationalistic side.

For example, my 1 minute of browsing the site took me to the story "FBI might shutdown the internet on March 8", ( http://rt.com/usa/news/fbi-internet-server-servers-409/ [rt.com] )

Maybe we should all be more worried about the internet disappearing than Monsanto's evil deeds.

What? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051489)

[...] audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature.

Monsanto should be the ones who have to pay those farmers for contaminating their fields.

But of course we're talking about the USA, where justice is but a distant memory and bribery is now known as lobbying.

Mansanto labled the most evil corporation of 2011 (1)

markdueck (796208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051491)

Here's an article from Mercola that explains a lot of things that Mansanto does. It is truely a very evil company. Worst company of 2011 [mercola.com]

It's obvious to me (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39051557)

That if any pollen from monsanto crops were to stray onto my property, that is a form of industrial pollution. It's worse for my farm than radioactive fallout.

The damages should be in the millions, as now every grain of pollen must be removed. It's no different than if some asshole is crop dusting with toxic chemicals, and the toxins blow all over your land, and render your crops unusable. The soil needs to be dug up to a minimum 3 feet, hauled away, stored indefinetely, and replaced with arable soil.

It has altered the biological nature of the crops in an unnatural way -- it is a toxic by-product of Monsanto's business. An organic farm would be irrepairably ruined by such an act.

It should be assumed that farmers did not illicitly buy Monsanto seed - as we have an assumption of innocence. It should be assumed that Monsanto knows, that absent extreme measures, there will be cross pollination and contamination of neighbouring farms. They should be liable for this widespread damage.

As long as Monsanto is picking up the tab, I'm fine with them winning lawsuits in the cases where it can be shown the farmer intentionally sowed their seed without "consent".

What are they farming? (3, Funny)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 2 years ago | (#39051795)

FTFA:

Last year, 270,000 organic farmers from around 60 family farms tried to take Monsanto to court over issues pertaining to a genetically-modified seed masterminded by the corporation.

I don't know how many crops these folks can grow on a farm with that many farmers taking up so much room.

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