Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Roundup, Ready?

Bitter Greens Journal, which has a running feature called "Roundup, Ready," recently got a cease-and-desist letter from Monsanto.

Here's a bit of Tom Philpott's response:

Although it's comical for a corporation with upwards of $5 billion in annual revenue to harass an obscure blogger who helps run a 2.5-acre farm, the tone of your letter is earnest; so I will reply earnestly.

Your arguments seem specious to me, and I therefore I must refuse to cease using "Roundup, ready" as the title for an occasional feature on my Web log.

You write that "[t]his use of the term could cause your readers to think that your journal is in some way sponsored by Monsanto or that Monsanto supports the positions set out in your journal." Yet my journal clearly presents itself as a "running critique of industrial agriculture," and from its first post on has made no secret of its distaste for Monsanto and its particular style of industrial agriculture.

I doubt you will be able to dig up a single reader who, after perusing a "Roundup, ready" post, will think to himself, "Now this fellow must be on the Monsanto dole!"
Philpott's got guts, that's for sure! When it comes to legal...um...zeal, few companies can hold a candle to Monsanto. I admire his stance, and wish him the best. This is one of those situations where intense public scrutiny can make the difference between a good outcome and a bad one, so I hope like-minded fellow bloggers will join me in keeping an eye on this story.

1 comment:

JMS said...

Monsanto has deep pockets. They may sue even though don't have a case.

On the other hand, they risk negative press (from other blogs, and the Europeans) if they forge ahead, and that could turn out to be a negative propisition.

So it will be interesting to see if Monsanto folds their hand or raises the stakes.