Beware the estate of James Joyce

J. Craig Venter and his fellow scientists managed to replace the genetic code of a bacterium with a synthetic code they made on a computer. Which is how they got sued by the estate of James Joyce.

In order to distinguish their synthetic DNA from that naturally present in the bacterium, Venter’s team coded several famous quotes into their DNA, including one from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”

After announcing their work, Venter explained, his team received a cease and desist letter from Joyce’s estate, saying that he’d used the Irish writer’s work without permission. ”We thought it fell under fair use,” said Venter.

That is from Jessica Crispin.


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