August 22, 2001 | Source: New Scientist
The DNA Copyright Institute (DCI) of San Francisco is offering celebrities the chance to establish copyright over their DNA to prevent unwanted duplication.In theory, all someone needs to clone their hero or heroine is a few living cells from them left behind on a glass or exchanged in a handshake, for example.
DCI is offering to record celebrities’ DNA fingerprint, check that it is unique and store it. As the pattern’s “author,” the client will get copyright protection to prevent “actions such as DNA theft and misappropriation, cloning and other unauthorised activities”, claims DCI’s web site.
But lawyers dismiss claims that DNA can be copyrighted. “This is nonsense,” says Stephen Barnett of the University of California, Berkeley. “Whoever is saying that is ignorant of the term copyright.” The idea that a person “authors” their own DNA doesn’t hold water legally, Barnett says. And even if it did, he doesn’t think it would give them protection against being cloned.