Grapes with a EULA


65 Responses to “Grapes with a EULA”

  1. Steaming Pile says:

    #22 – On the small scale, home gardeners can buy patented hybrid seeds which it is legal to plant, harvest and eat, but which cannot legally be replanted, even though some of them breed true and will happily grow from home-grown seed.

    Or sprout the next season as “volunteers.” Tomatoes are notorious for that. So are sunflowers, as we found out. We had a battalion of them standing at attention this year from the previous season, all cross-pollinated into weird hybrids Burpee never intended. Ten footers with dozens of blooms, big canary yellow ones, red ones, you name it. The local blue jays love ‘em.

  2. strathmeyer says:

    “Just how do seedless grapes reproduce? Are they humping somewhere we don’t know about?”

    I can see how seedless grapes and watermelon could be new, but you should figure out where bananas come from.

  3. Mim says:

    @#23 – “Produit des EU” means product of the Etat-Unis (spelling?) — which is the French name for the United States.

  4. Mim says:

    @#28 – Bananas have seeds — they’re those little black things through the center.

  5. jonathan_v says:

    its worth mentioning that all the haas avocados date back to a single tree

    it would be neat if someone did a historical and economic projection of what life would be like had they been slapped with stringent EULAs too.

    i’m guessing avocados would cost $20 a piece, and then we’d have an overabundance of that other type that just tastes like crap

  6. cherry shiva says:

    @#12: genius.

    i’m all for spreading this EULA craze to it’s illogical limits. let’s put EULAs on everything. our money, our cars, our mirrors, our kids. the only way to illuminate the absurdity of this trend is to push it to the extreme.

    @#18: right on! what about reverse EULAs ? if they can arbitrarily offer these “agreements”, why can’t we just as arbitrarily offer refusals ?

    “no, i don’t agree”. simple as that.

  7. cinemajay says:

    Is it really an agreement though? It reads almost like a warning like something bad would happen. Like feeding Gremlins after midnight. Or getting them wet.

  8. Dillenger69 says:

    Does this mean grape sharing is illegal?
    If not, are the people I share my grapes with bound by the EULA as well?

    What if I have the express written consent of Major League Baseball?

  9. Talia says:


    I seed what you did there.

  10. Osprey101 says:

    Seedless grapes are propagated by leaf cuttings.

    Most likely, the cultivar of grape in the image above is protected under the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act of 1970:

    In short, the breeder is given exclusive rights to propagation of a specific cultivar for 25 years.

    If protected under a plant patent, then it’s a little different, but still very old (from 1930):

    They are rarely misused as they are employed and written better than stupid USPTO applications tend to be, slapping patents on obvious things like one-click buttons.

    The reason is quite obvious, and actually tends to protect smaller growers. If a breeder were to develop a new, potentially valuable cultivar, it would be simple enough for a big agricultural concern to purchase a single plant and run it through a lab in order to produce virtually unlimited numbers of genetically identical clones. This, too, is nothing new; cloning of animals is much more sophisticated than for plants, and the technology is well-established. From nut trees to strawberries, plants have been cloned for decades.

    So, Big Business, Inc. purchases a single plant, clones it a million times, plants the crop and harvests them, leaving the original producer without recourse. Frankly, that does not benefit small growers who might otherwise be encouraged to develop such crops.

    So, no; it’s not nearly so silly as it superficially appears.

  11. Ivan Y says:

    Now we know why they have seedless fruits. Not because they are convenient or consumers like them, it’s to protect them from unlawful propagation.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Monsanto making a late bid to be the worst company in the world for 12 years running?

  13. jccalhoun says:

    It is interesting to note that the full name of the Sunview company appears to be “Sunview Marketing, International.” Kind of an odd name for a company that sells grapes.

  14. FoetusNail says:

    From Takuan’s link

    They want to own life. I mean, this is the building blocks of food we are talking about. They are in the process of owning food, all food.

  15. jfrancis says:

    I always meant to license a pencil on eBay with a EULA governing what can and cannot be written with it.

  16. jimkirk says:

    One of my favorite labels was from a flower I bought in a nursery, “Asexual Reproduction Prohibited”. I always thought that would look great on a bumper sticker.

    I think the restriction was against cutting the bulb in two pieces, separating them and getting two plants for the price of one.

  17. Foolster41 says:

    what I want to know is, what’s the point? Are they really afraid of some kind of composition from people getting planted grapes? Are they really this dumb that they think SEEDLESS grapes can be planted, or are they covering their butts in case a seed slips in? Most importantly, what the hell are they going to do about it?

  18. Joe MommaSan says:

    “Produce of USA” *and* “Produit des EU”?!

    I’ve got a shower curtain where the English part of the label says “Made in Pakistan” while the Spanish part says “Hecho en USA”.

  19. dbarak says:

    Damned RIAA and DRM…

  20. Gilbert Wham says:

    If you tattoo this on your balls, does it make you immine from paternity suits?

  21. bja says:

    Sunview International is owned by Marko Zaninovich. Zaninovich has donated $1500 to the George Radanovich campaign, and $2600 to the re-election campaign for Kevin McCarthy. Radanovich sits on Energy and Commerce, and is on the Internet and Telecom subcommittee. Radanovich is already an opponent of things like net neutrality. I think we can:

    1. Not be surprised that IP is the weapon of choice for Zaninovich
    2. Expect bad things from McCarthy on the IP front
  22. mdh says:

    How can you misuse the seeds of a seedless grape?

  23. dbarak says:

    That EULA thing is just grape nuts.

    Badump bump!

  24. Osprey101 says:

    @ #44- It’s to prevent it from being cloned, as I describe above. That would be a plant patent (or “plant patent applied for”) in order to keep it from being cloned.

    Now, the individual who purchases it can make as many “copies” as they like, dividing it, growing it from cuttings, etc., for their own purposes. But they cannot sell them. I think they can be given away- I’m a little hazy on that.

    The whole idea is to keep another company’s lab from cloning them and profiting.

    @ #47- Occasionally “seedless” grapes will have seeds. They’re not all sterile.

  25. agger says:

    I smell astroturfing. Or justplain old trolling? :-)

  26. Purly says:

    Hubby and I save the seeds from the most delicious fruits and veggies we eat, then plant them under lamps and stick them in the garden. So far it has worked great.

    Anyways, I’ve never looked for EULAs on my food, but I’m not worried: how would you ever even enforce something like this?

  27. bjacques says:

    The precursor to the library grape!

  28. Daemon says:

    #45: For what it’s worth, EU is the french spelling of USA, from Etas Unis.

    I reserve the right to reject the validity of anything resembling an EULA as being legally binding.

  29. UstinJay says:

    In french United States is Etats-Unis… though I find it strange how many things are turning up in french these days.

  30. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Seriously, it is the end of the world.

  31. Rob Cockerham says:

    It would also be be morally reprehensible to plant the seeds from seedless grapes.

  32. badger says:

    When I see something like this I think “don’t tempt me”

  33. sneadhearn says:

    Not the tissue *and* the fruit!

  34. Anonymous says:

    For some reason, the term “clusterfuck” comes to mind.

  35. jimh says:


  36. Salty says:

    Give them a few lines of email to let them know how sillystupid they are:

  37. UstinJay says:

    I am curious to know what the plant would look like…may be mutant plant?

  38. agger says:

    Is this legally binding anywhere? Just curious … :-)

  39. eagleapex says:

    Sounds like a quite challenge.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Nursery purchased trees, shrubs and flowers have had these clauses for years on the tags. The purchaser agrees not to clone, reproduce or propagate, etc.

    you don’t own anything anymore.

  41. Chevan says:

    Are they grapes from transgenic plants?

    If so, they may be worried that someone would try and use the stems in a graft or something and end up with unforeseen negative effects from the gene modification.

  42. ndlxs says:

    I can’t wait to see them tracking down all of the birds, squirrels, and rats eating grapes carelessly thrown on the ground and thoughtlessly spreading the seeds in their scat.

  43. W. James Au says:

    Hey I have an idea– how about we start adding little EULA stickers to the money we buy products like this with? “By accepting this legal tender, company agrees not to use it to purchase pesticides, underpay workers, or otherwise spend it in generally dickheaded ways.”

  44. GeekDadCanada says:

    Just how do seedless grapes reproduce? Are they humping somewhere we don’t know about?

  45. ssll says:

    So I guess if you poop in the woods you break the EULA?

  46. Pipenta says:

    A new cultivar is NOT a new species.


  47. Cpt. Tim says:

    what if somehow your shit inadvertently fertilizes the seeds somewhere?

    is this like when someone pirates your internet and uses it to download movies and you’re the one that gets in trouble?

  48. Takuan says:

    so if I copyright a genome, sneak pollen into their research farm and then pop up with a law suit – will I win?

  49. padster123 says:

    It’s the arrogance that bugs me… “The recipient of the produce contained in this package agrees not to propagate or reproduce any portion of the produce, including (but not limited to) seeds, stems, tissue and fruit.”

    Just makes you say to yourself: “No I don’t. Go screw yourself.”

  50. clockwork says:

    this practice (limiting use of agricultural products by legal means) predates modern EULAs found in software. this is hardly news

  51. Master Mahan says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised. Although new, the produce section of Pirate Bay has been growing rapidly. Grocers are developing new technology to help preserve profits, such the new Securibag for Lay’s Sweet Ranch chips, which requires that the consumer enters his 35-digit identification code to open the packaging. This has created a backlash, though, as some customers have been complaining about only being able to share the chips with up to two friends.

  52. Anonymous says:

    If I eat them, I have no choice but to reproduce them.

  53. semiotix says:

    Um, I’m pretty sure that just means you can’t photocopy them. (Although if you’re doing it for legitimate parody or academic instruction the rules are a little looser.)

  54. FoetusNail says:

    May not be the grower. A few huge companies are trying to control the entire planet’s seed supply. These companies are in a race to buy up all the smaller suppliers. They are developing propriatary plants and seeds that work with their brand of fertilizers and pesticides. These are the main reasons for genetic modification. Farmers sign agreements that prevent them from retaining a seed stock or starting new grafts. There are many reasons to oppose the patenting of plant life. Genetic modification, even if completely benign, should be opposed until safeguards are put in place protecting farmers, seed stock diversity, and promote organic farming whenever possible.

  55. andygates says:

    The multilingual origin and the “seeds” reference on a seedless product point unerringly towards the EULA being unenforceable, hilarious boilerplate.

    But still – even if they want to enforce this on their growers – why do the company think that it makes sense to pass it on to the *consumer*?

  56. Anonymous says:

    Hello…it’s a new cultivar that they are trying to protect from being cloned.

    Produce companies don’t have a lot of ways to differentiate, other than offering a cultivar that is bigger, sweeter, juicier, etc.

    Used to be that a grower could offer a new variety, content that it would take eons to replicate that variety.

    Now it takes just a little bit of genetic engineering/cloning/etc. and boom…the competition has the same cultivar.

    They know it’s weak — but it’s the only chance they have to make money from all the hard work they’ve spent growing this new species.

    And in this case, protecting intellectual property is a good thing…they’ve spent time/money/labor to produce this thing…thus they *should* get paid for it (albeit not as handsomely as the pharmas for what they create!) — if it is copied, it doesn’t boost sales of their other cultivars…it just boosts sales of THIS cultivar that someone else ripped off.

    It will happen anyway — but this is the only chance they have of protecting their product.

    • Antinous says:

      Hello…it’s a new cultivar that they are trying to protect from being cloned.

      But is it? There were vast numbers of cultivars of food and other plants before the advent of agribusiness. There were varieties that had evolved, sometimes with human help, to grow in every imaginable climate and condition. The advent of agribusiness and it’s monoculture of flavorless, shippable foodstuffs eradicated the overwhelming majority of food bio-diversity. Agribusiness destroyed the resource. Now they’re reinventing the resource and claiming ownership of it. My lack of sympathy – let me sho u it.

  57. codesuidae says:

    The notice isn’t legally binding, but the patent on the product is.

    This is actually pretty common in hybrid food crops, though I’ve never actually seen a warning on the product before.

    If you want to know more you might watch ‘The Future of Food’ which gives some background about how Monsanto has been involved in the field and protects their intellectual property, which is encoded in the genome of their products, with an iron fist.

    The problem is that plants don’t care about IP and will spread the genome on their own, resulting in people growing illegal foods even without knowing that they are doing so.

    On the small scale, home gardeners can buy patented hybrid seeds which it is legal to plant, harvest and eat, but which cannot legally be replanted, even though some of them breed true and will happily grow from home-grown seed.

    Many hybrids will not breed true though (the product of the seeds does not carry the features of the parent hybrid in a useful way), so there isn’t much incentive to propagate them.

    Monsanto does make a good case for maintaining tight control over their IP. They have a strong incentive to produce the best, most productive products under the best conditions, and with a high level of expert knowledge about what should and should not be done. This is to important, they maintain, to be left exclusively to small producers.

    Unfortunately they are more like Microsoft Windows than Linux, and the incentive of great piles of money mean that those expert decisions tend to be based a bit more on what is profitable than on what is best for humanity and the environment.

  58. coldspell says:

    “Produce of USA” *and* “Produit des EU”?!

  59. certron says:

    Are you off the hook if you just shoplift them? What if you give them to a friend and they take them out of the bag and give them back?

    If you are the customer or the supermarket, can you throw them in the garbage if they are rotten?

  60. FoetusNail says:

    NDLXS, one of the first things you will notice when going to a modern large scale farm is the complete lack of any life other than the crop and employees. I wouldn’t be surprised, if most of the symbiotic life forms many plants would have had before the introduction of pesticides and the end of crop rotation, are extinct.

  61. jimh says:

    I didn’t want those grapes anyway.
    They’re probably sour.

    (I am on fire today.)

  62. Sam says:

    I am aware of seeds that produce seedless offspring and special crops that don’t respond to special insecticides, but I am not aware of any seedless fruit that can somehow reproduce.

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