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Argument: Genes cannot be owned practically, are part of commons

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Supporting quotations

David Koepsell. "The Case Against Gene Patents." Practicing Law Institute. June 13, 2009: "I argue that the genome is a commons. There are parts of the world that cannot be owned in any practical sense. Radio spectra are my favorite example. There’s no way to exert ownership over a particular band. I can exert my ownership over my possessions and my land, but the only means of trying to control a band on the radio spectrum is to broadcast over it. But along comes my neighbor who does the same thing, and cranks up the wattage. There is no winner. It is the classic tragedy of the commons. I argue that genes, which are, after all, parts of what Richard Dawkins calls 'the river of life flowing out of Eden' are simply unencloseable. Parents all over the world are reproducing patented genes, technically violating the patents on those genes because they haven’t sought permission and aren’t paying royalties. The idea is absurd, of course. This is why the practice is absurd. Unmodified genes simply cannot be owned, nor should they be."

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