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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
US firm offers stars DNA copyright
DNA Copyright, BBC
The US firm wants stars to copyright their DNA
A privately-held corporation in the United States is trying to persuade famous individuals to copyright their DNA.

Cloning is going to be as easy as in vitro fertilisation

Andre Crump
DNA Copyright Institute
The DNA Copyright Institute, San Franscisco, wants stars to use its services to strengthen their legal position should anyone decide to clone them against their will.

Most scientists disapprove of the idea of trying to clone human beings, but DNACI's founder, Andre Crump, told the BBC that he believed it would not be difficult to find someone to carry out the cloning procedure.

"Cloning is going to be as easy as in vitro fertilisation," he told the BBC's Today programme.

"It's not going to require a gigantic laboratory and it's not going to be very expensive.

"It's going to be very easy to do once they figure out all the kinks," he said.

Telephone clone?

Mr Crump said that getting hold of a famous person's DNA against their will would not be difficult and that enough DNA to generate a clone was left behind by a person talking on the telephone.

His firm offers clients the chance to have a DNA test and turn the results into a format that can be copyrighted.

"Clients can establish copyright protection guaranteeing legal recourse so that their personal DNA pattern cannot be duplicated in printed, electronic, photographic or biological form," the corporation says.

Copyright protection would not necessarily prevent someone being cloned against their will, but it would offer them legal remedy, Mr Crump said.

International law

"The thing about copyright law is that it's international and it lasts a lot longer than, let's say, current legislation, so if someone were suspected of copyright infringement, it really wouldn't matter if they were here or in the UK or in France," he said.

It is not clear what would happen if a person were cloned against their will and were then to win a copyright case against the cloner.

The successful cloning of Dolly the sheep took place only after hundreds of unsuccessful attempts.

Cloning experts warn that cloning a human would be just as difficult and an ethical catastrophe.

The DNA Copyright Institute's Andre Crump
"It's not very difficult to procure DNA from anyone"
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