The problems of
international copyright had been well illustrated
by the patenting of elements of the human genome.
The ownership of genes which lead to the human
orgasm was a spectacular example. The multi-national,
Genetic Industries, made a fortune by licensing
orgasms on a one person, one event basis, with
licences retailing at fifty dollars.
The public outcry and the
burning-down of the headquarters of Genetic
Industries, however, led to their commercial
decision to sell the patent for ten billion
dollars. This was a price which the Vatican felt
well worthwhile. Indeed, after intense bargaining,
the Pope even included perpetual and irrevocable
absolution from all past, present and future sins
for the directors of the company.
The subsequent abolition of
the fee for a one time orgasm licence
was at first widely welcomed. The criteria for
licence issue imposed by the Pope, however, was
disappointing. Licenses were issued solely to
heterosexual, Christian, married couples at a
rate of one per year during the natural period of
fertility. Subsequent licenses were issued only
if procreation could be demonstrated as an
outcome of the previous.
Due to their patent, the
Catholic Church enthusiastically supported
international copyright. Until, that is, the
discovery of the one-hundredth name of God.
Arabic tradition identified
ninety-nine names of God. Legend told that the
smile on the face of a camel resulted from the
beasts awareness of the one hundredth.
There was an irony, therefore, that it should be
a Saudi Arabian camel herder, Mustafa Omar who,
while singing to his favourite camel,
accidentally vocalised the true name of Allah.
The word was so unique,
evocative and beautiful that its sacred meaning
was immediately self-apparent. Mustafas
first reaction was to fall to his knees and
praise Allah for his inspiration. His second
reaction was to get out his mobile phone and
contact his lawyer. So it was that the true name
of God became subject to international copyright.
The following day three
cardinals arrived at Mustafas tent to
promote multi-faith understanding and co-operation.
They offered coloured beads in exchange for the
copyright then bright, shiny mirrors then many
fine camels. Mustafa finally explained in their
native Italian that he had been educated at
Oxford where he has studied comparative religion
and philosophy. He could say Piss-off you
devious, patronising bastards, in half-a-dozen
languages. He chose, however, not to do so.
There are two
circumstances in which I will share the ownership
Gods name, he declared. Either
the Pope must convert to Islam, or he must pass
to me the orgasm patent.
There was much subsequent
discussion at the Vatican though, finally, His
Holiness accepted the latter.
Mustafa, like most of us,
was self-interested but, at heart, magnanimous.
He decreed sole use of the patent for himself and
any chosen partners until his death, and that
then orgasms should be freely available to all.
Eighteen months later he
died - an exhausted but happy man.