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
    New Mexico Mark, 28 Feb 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re: Fair Use?

    > But I'm confident that the effectiveness of such a law would be zero.

    The effectiveness of many laws is negligible until you are the one who runs afoul of some obscure offense. In my opinion, laws like this encourage selective enforcement. "We didn't find any evidence of drugs, but the scoundrel had recent farm pictures on his camera. Need we say more, your honor?"

    It may only be anecdotal, but I'd think twice before disagreeing with a Texas law enforcement officer if I was carrying a pair of pliers in my back pocket. That thar's a hangin' offense! (Supposedly a law against this was originally enacted because rustlers would carry pliers to cut fences.)


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