As I noted previously, I was interviewed recently for a promising new documentary by lawyer-philosopher David Koepsell and filmmaker Taylor Roesch, “Who Owns You?” (Here’s the first trailer, on Vimeo.) Here’s an email I just received from Taylor:
Hello Family and Friends,
As you may or may not know, for the last eight months, I have been filming a documentary on the subject of human gene patenting with David Koepsell, philosopher and author of the book Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Our Genes. We have made great progress since last October, filming numerous interviews with genetic counselors, patent attorneys, and the one and only James Watson. Currently, we have over 35 hours of footage and expect to film another 35 hours this summer. Below is a link to the trailer for the documentary:
Our film has nicely dove-tailed with the recent court case between the Myriad Genetics, patent holder of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 (which contribute to breast cancer), and the ACLU as well as numerous individuals and clinical organizations. At the beginning of April, the honorable Judge Sweets of the Federal District Court in New York, ruled in favor of the ACLU, making Myriad’s patents invalid. Initially, this was great news! Not only had the ACLU won this case, but my film had an ending. My celebration was premature because Myriad has decided to appeal the decision. The case is currently in the Appellate Court and both sides intend on taking it to the US Supreme Court. It will be years before a final decision is reached. If we can spotlight this issue in the public square, it will help build public support for the lower court’s decision, and perhaps the Appellate Court and Supreme Court will uphold the recent ruling.
But there is more at stake than this one case, over 20% of the human genome has been patented. While the ACLU case highlights this problem, there are still many questions about whether it will invalidate all of these sorts of gene patents.
We have some great people willing to help us as you can see from our trailer but there are still a lot of costs involved in finishing the film. We need additional funds to conduct more interviews in Chicago, Washington DC, Berkeley CA, and The Netherlands. After we finish filming this summer, post production will begin and a final product should be ready by December 2010. We have financed much of the work ourselves, but we will need at least $3,000.00 to complete this important film. Any money you can contribute will go a long way to getting this documentary done and this issue heard. Please feel free to send this email along to anyone you think might be interested in helping us out.
Below is a link to our Kickstarter website where you can easily donate to our project:
Thank you very much,