Check Your Genes: A Short Guide to Living a Patented Life
Fake News From The Future posted by on Monday, July 10, 2006
This pamphlet was found in the Time Travel division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is rumored to have fallen through an accidentally-synthesized wormhole.
In today's era of ownership, it is vital that you and your partner have checked your genes for potential violations. Use this guide to help you enjoy a lawsuit-free life and to protect both your own existence and that of your children's children's children.
To assist you in the checking process, you can pay a one-off fee of US$3,500 per person to obtain a gene-checking pack, including patented tools that you are licensed to use to scan your chromosomes for patented genes. You will need a copy of your personal genome; this can be obtained on DVD for a one-time fee of $7,200. See your family physician.
If you suspect or know for certain that your partner harbors patented genetic code, it is advisable to cease contact. Illegal offspring are the sole intellectual property of the patent holders and are subject to fines of up to $30,000 per violating gene. Even if there is no risk of illegal pregnancy, the DNA of patented individuals is present in all cells shed by the individual. If you are found to be harboring any such cells, you may be subject to a patent violation yourself. If you must continue contact, make sure to keep a fair distance from the individual and wash thoroughly before entering a ten mile radius of a lawyer.
If you yourself transpire to be the harborer of patented genes, there are a number of options open to you. Above all, keep away from all of your relations, lest they contract patented cells themselves. You should then seek the advice of a lawyer that you trust (if you have not yet befriended a lawyer, hang around downtown Seattle for fifteen minutes and accost the first one that hiccups). Make sure to wear protective clothing - particularly a face mask. The lawyer will attempt to negotiate the license fees for you, which will be less expensive than what you might pay following a lawsuit. However, the outlay of legal expenses makes the initial cost unappealing. Do not let it be prohibitive, unless you are resigned to the life of a fugitive. Remember - any contact you make with anything else leaves a trace that can be followed by forensic investigators, who work for the gene companies. While death is the only sure-fire way to avoid the legal expenses, it is possible to eke out an existence in a lawyer-proof cave in the Himalayas.
In the event of the conception of a patented individual, abortion is an immediate step to take. It is a good idea to go to a hospital whose employees you trust. Many hospitals are funded or 'sponsored', or have employees employed by, the gene companies. Some gene companies are commencing a crack-down on abortions that go through the system without license fees, and they usually charge for a whole year of the baby's life.
If, for some reason, it is too late for an abortion, do not attempt to murder the child. If this happens, the license fees will immediately be passed on to the next of the kin. You do not want this to happen. After the initial fine, illegal children incur license fees of around $500 per year, plus a compensatory fee of $95,000 to be paid any time before the death of the offspring (incurring interest at 23.5%). If the child dies before this fee is paid, additional compensation of around $7,500 is usually necessary to compensate the compensation.
Transgenetica Corporation has a slightly different licensing policy to the standard tariff described above. If it owns a gene in a human body, then of course, no unauthorized copying is allowed without the required license and the fee therewith associated. The human body is constantly duplicating cells in order to replace them, in a process known as mitosis. Each time it does this, it makes a copy of the DNA within the cell, which constitutes an unauthorized duplication. In the same way that incidental copies of music files require a separate license, Transgenetica charges around $5 (depending on the individual in question) for each cell duplication. In the case of a tumor - e.g. a person with cancer - the licensing costs can be enormous. In this eventuality it is often better to leave the cancer untreated than to face the legal costs, though do check your state laws on passive euthanasia, as you may be convicted for murder, or worse, intellectual property violation.
In addition, the duplication of DNA is subject to random fluctuations - much like file corruption on computers. Since Transgenetica successfully proved this to be an example of the creation of a derivative work (in Transgenetica vs Church of Latter-Day Saints 2047), it charges again - at a variable tariff - for these discrepancies. Other companies are considering the change-over to a licensing policy similar to Transgenetica's (unfortunately, the lawyers necessary to administrate the policy is gargantuan; and lawyers are currently in short supply and high demand).
Watch out for rogue genetic surgeons. Many claim to be able to reverse-engineer the patented genes to a state that is not patented, but few are legitimate. Many work for the gene companies in disguise. Even if this is not the case, they are often prone to engineering a gene into a state that is also patented, or engineering other genes into a patented state. They may also charge enormous fees for their work, since their techniques are patented. If you find such a company with what seems like a bargain price for their services ($45,000 is probably the threshold at which to be wary), keep away. They are probably not paying the license fees for the genetic engineering techniques. If they are caught, the lawyers will be forced to sue everyone in a fifteen mile radius of their practice (under the Proximity-Related Liability Amendment).
Remember that even if you have checked your genes today, patents may exist that have not yet made it to the public register. Allow up to 18 months. Thus, if your genes were clear at conception, be sure to check again when the baby is nine months old. If a patent emerges in the public register at this point that matches one of those in the child, remember that ignorance is no defense, and follow the advice as above.
Further advice is probably necessary on the subject of animals. Avoid pets. Do not purchase, trade or associate with animals, especially domesticated ones. Keep away from the agricultural industry. More non-human organisms are patented than humans, so avoid contact at all costs. If you live in the country, it is imperative that you move to a city. Apartments are best - they are not only the cheapest option, but they are certain to be free of a garden. Cultivated land is to be avoided at all costs, since unintentional wind or insect pollination may occur with patented crops; the only bush that you can reasonably remain in contact with is George.
It is consistently proved that incidental genetic violations have a higher Total Cost of Ownership than incidentally hearing music in the city (on that note, make sure you wear approved noise-removal ear-plugs when walking around in the city; they may be patented, and hence expensive, but they are the only defense against straying too close to a cinema, for example).
Going on holiday? Do not consider anywhere in Africa, Asia, the Pacific or even South America. Not only are these continents rife with agriculture (see above), but they will almost always require vaccination against exotic diseases. Such patented vaccines are extortionate, and should not be touched with an eleven-foot bamboo stick. In addition, ever since the patenting of malaria, not to mention that of the mosquito bite, the cost of insect repellent has become astronomical.
By 2055, it is expected that 68% of activities you took for granted fifty years ago will be illegal. 60% of these will be for intellectual property reasons; 40% will be a consequence of the War on Terror. By 2087 it is expected that the cost of living will have risen so high that only lawyers and politicians will be able to afford to live. Therefore, the single most important piece of advice you can receive now is to get your children into law school. Their lives depend on it.
If you require any further information or advice, contact your local doctor or your lawyer. Do not use the Internet to research this topic. The Government's compulsory spyware package (Windows only) will detect immediately if you have been within three clicks of the EFF. And remember: always check your genes.