Appropriation and Remix Culture in our Technological Times

These corporate incentives are so aggravating! Why do these people put money above everything else? You’d think the scientists would know better; I guess ultimately it isn’t their choice, but I’m sure they can understand that only having ONE (specifically American) company do research on this particular gene, or whatever it may be, isn’t the most efficient way to get results that will have global benefits.

And furthermore, how can they patent things which already exist? It’s not like they invented these genes, they discovered them. It wasn’t theirs to begin with. I really don’t think “intellectual property” applies here.

The author of the article, John Sulston, argues that IP rights have a massive significance within the realm of creation and innovation. He specifically mentions science as his area of concern, and how the essence of scientific study is becoming highly commoditized. He claims that further research cannot proceed because larger corporations restrict scientists from testing 80% of genes from patents. In mild sarcasm, he states “IP is supposedly intended to encourage inventors and the investment needed to bring their products to the clinic and marketplace.” On a moral basis, this should be true, but due to the interference of larger, more powerful companies, it becomes difficult to decipher who’s getting credit for what when new discoveries are revealed and marketed to the public.

My personal take on this matter graciously agrees with Sulston’s vision to re-purify the world of science. I guess, since the article is so one-sided, it’s hard to find/think of any counterpoints in which Sulston should take into consideration. I am not a frequent consumer of medication, but I’ve observed how a majority of the American society depends on drugs and medication to proceed with their daily lives. With this in mind, It seems the demand for medication is always constant, so the market must respond to this. There seems to be a loss of connectivity between society, and the scientific community, who are capable of making progressive discoveries when materials are affordable and plentiful.

Comparing this situation to artistic theft or appropriation, there are some similarities in Sulston’s argument that relate to the ongoing debate about the next direction of art. I believe there is a lot of credibility in having creative integrity and acknowledgement is always desired upon originality and creativity. What seems to destroy this integrity is when outside negotiations are made in order to compromise and re-essemble the original source material.

As I said before, I found this article convincing, (which it turn made me feel a bit sympathetic for future desires for scientific studies in America), but I still got the feeling that I was seeing this argument from one standpoint, in which Sulston seemed very headstrong with delivering this message clearly and concisely to the public. Although this is a different category of Copyright, it is still a relevant example to reference from when concerning Copyright from an artistic, or another perspective.

-Nicole R.

Clearly being able to patent scientific information is detrimental to the general advancement of people.. However because of the commercial aspect and corporations being driven by profit, this must create competiveness that motivates scientist to produce the newest ideas possible. A happy medium would need to be meet that could allow the science community to share certain broad or large-scale concepts, while protecting other smaller ideas more in relation to a company’s specific field. Also eliminating certain aspects of large corporations contracts with their scientist, such as allowing them to work on off company projects would be helpful.