Remember the recording industry outrage at pirated music and the file-sharing sub-culture? It was soon eclipsed by wide-scale copying of movies and TV series, easily spread by torrents and mega downloads.
Then came the 3D printing revolution, and it wasn’t long before geeks were pirating real things – simply scan them and print out a replica. And if you had one of the fancier machines, you could clone fully-functional electronic gadgets, once you had downloaded the ‘maker’ file.
But pirating gadgets and fashion labels is one thing; stealing someone’s eyes, ears or nose is another matter entirely! Movie stars and models are demanding royalties on their facial features, now that 3D manufacture of human organs is mainstream.
For medical reasons, many celebs have had their complete genome sequenced and stored in the cloud. It was only a matter of time, before Asian hackers unlocked the secrets to beautiful hair, stunning eyes and rugged good looks. Now you can just order your new features on the internet, and they’ll be ready for your next surgical safari to Vietnam or Cambodia.
“It’s just DNA,” says one ‘body sculptor’ in Shanghai. “You can’t copyright that!” But agents for the stars disagree: “Your genetic heritage is unique and belongs to you alone. You can’t get more personal than that!”
The lawyers are having a field day. Complicating matters is the fact that these cloned features often have a subtle variation to make them technically different from the original model, and unique in their own right. ‘Look and feel’ lawsuits are taking on a whole new meaning!