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New Legislation 'To Protect Farmer IP' Would Make It A Felony To Photograph Farms

from the oh-come-on dept

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.

Filed Under: farms, florida, intellectual property, photographs


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  1. identicon
    Jackie, 28 Feb 2011 @ 10:34am

    Except for satellite photos?

    Because the absolutely best way of determining what a farm is growing and how the crop is doing is to order satellite photos of the area.
    There is no intellectual property right to be enbodied in a photo of a farm.
    A farm operates in the public view. Anything that can be seen from the road is available to all.
    If they want to build walls around their farms then they can claim trestpass for people who take photos. All they have to do is build the wall as high as they want to prevent people from taking a photo from that height. At some point they could be arguing privacy instead of intellectual property though. One might have a reasonable expectation that people won't ascend to 45 feet above the ground to take pictures. But one should expect that overhead photos are available to anyone with a kite, plane or a satellite.
    This Florida law is sort of like that Texas law prosecuting people who said that you could get Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE) from contaminated beef. Some Texas farms then sued Oprah Winfrey to try to prevent her mentioning BSE.
    Corrupt politicians are everywhere nowadays. But Florida and Texas politicians have some of the worst reputations .

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