by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 28th 2011 9:41am
An awful lot of you sent in this story about a proposed law in Florida that could put people in jail for taking a photograph of a farm without permission. Seriously. Not surprisingly, the "excuse" for this is that it is "needed to protect the property rights of farmers and the "intellectual property" involving farm operations." I'm not kidding. The bill was introduced by Florida State Senator Jim Norman from Tampa. It's apparently targeted at animal rights activists, who have been known to photograph questionable conditions of animals on farms. In other words, it has nothing to do with "protecting intellectual property." It's to avoid criticism for treating animals poorly. And, of course, if animal activists are trespassing to get these photos, there are already laws against that. But this is what you get in this kind of society, where people seem to project the idea that anything can be redefined as "property" and locked up -- people use "intellectual property" as an excuse for simply ridiculous legislative proposals such as this one. Even if such a law passes, it won't take long for it to be declared unconstitutional, but it could waste Florida taxpayer money to fight this in court.
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