Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Everyone wants a piece of the big spirits industry pie"

The Atlantic certainly has been detonating some conversations lately.  If Andrew Sullivan is not battling the populist/reality TV politics of Sarah Palin then Jeffery Goldberg is sending pundits bristling over a looming Israeli attack on Iran.  On a less gravitated note, this week Chantal Martineau wrote an the article addressing "The Era of Copyrighted Cocktails".  This topic sent the mixologist community into a Dervish-dance over the concept.

Essentially, the Tales of the Cocktail event featured a seminar concentrating on protecting mixologist intellectual property rights.  

Surely, we are in unsurveyed territory.

Discussion began swirling between advocates and opponents on the wisdom of such an approach.  I am not acquainted with Eben Freeman and I am not totally convinced this is a Howard Beale moment.  However, I do question the doctrine.  As Jacob Grier wrote:
Intellectual property exists to promote progress. Its purpose is not to ensure that no one’s ideas are stolen or that creative people can earn a living, unless those things are needed to promote progress in a field.
In other words, the mixology community is thriving in an open system model.  Why be unnecessarily reactionary or counterrevolutionary? 

I have questioned in good faith my own inventions and confections.  Those of us at the base of the totem should be sensitive to the professionals who are exposing their audiences to original cocktails. 

However, many of the artistic and expressive epochs were battened as a result of the water-shedding of influential ideas.  Lawsuits and litigation risk discouraging just as many amature enthusiasts as it would invariably deter shameless plagiarists.  The whole movement gets grazed in the testicles.  

My own de gustibus on this subject is not complete.  And I can scarcely image the struggle over intangible assests will lose momentum.  So I anticipate exploration of the topic with the mixologists within my access.  I expect to post further on intellectual property rights on cocktails moving forward so stay tuned. 

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