I’ve recently sold myself to Monsanto.
It’s not slavery, the representative making the offer explained to me, simply the purchase of the rights to my DNA, which are then leased back to me for 15% of any earnings my DNA and it’s derivatives might someday accrue. These earnings include wages, royalties, or the sale of creative material, as well as the wages, royalties or creativity of any offspring I may someday have. The rights to my DNA are held by Monsanto in perpetuity.
For these rights I received a one time, lump sum payment of $200 million.
Monsanto is unlikely to make any significant profit from this transaction, but profit isn’t what the purchase was about. It was about setting a legal precedent of DNA as an intellectual property that can be copyrighted, bought, and sold. I got $200 million for the rights to my genetic code, but all they’ll need from you is a blood sample and a good lawyer.
Monsanto has VERY good lawyers.
Because now that, legally speaking, DNA is an intellectual property, when you don’t copyright your own nothing stops them from filing the necessary paperwork.
The morally questionable nature of this transaction is by no means lost on me. But you have to see it from my point of view. There are seven billion people on Earth. If I hadn’t agreed to this, someone else would have. And one person agreeing to be the legal test case for a contract like this is all it takes.
So, although it does pain me, sometimes you just gotta take the money and run.