There have been a number of laws that have changed in the
21st Century. These changes have been wrought for a myriad number of reasons, ranging from social changes to developments in technology, and have been forced by how we perceive things. It is sort of interesting to look at those changes and why they changed.
The biggest change has perhaps been in rape law. Because the definition of rape itself made it problematic to prosecute attacks on men as well as collate statistics relative to the situation, rape laws have been pretty much updated to extensions of the sexual assault laws, with rape being reclassified as "aggravated sexual assault". The problem was that it was defined as requiring penetration by the perpetrator, which generally excluded women, attackers. This not only made prosecution of women harder but also made a reliable collection of statistics difficult. It is generally hoped
that the changes will make it easier to prosecute women.
Patent law has also seen a number of revisions, mostly thanks to advances in genetics and computers. Originally there was no real way to patent genetic modifications in life forms, as it was seen as just a more of a laboratory-based way of doing what people had been doing for a long time. Also, computer software also used to be handled under copyright law as the software was actually written. However, patent law has been modified to include life forms as well as sets of instructions, making developments in both areas seen more as inventions than creations, giving them a wider range of protections as well as other legal benefits.
The organic food market has also inspired some changes in law, albeit more restrictive. One of the problems is that consumers are looking for foods that are less processed; while this makes them arguably healthier it also makes them less durable. That has had to be addressed by law and affects a wide variety of foods, from dairy to meat. With these legal changes and others, it is hoped that life will be easier for those affected by the changes in the law, changes based on how we live and do business and that they will be better protected.