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Malaysia Seeking to Copyright Food?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the time-to-trademark-malaysia-and-sue-for-infringement dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 330

Techdirt is reporting that Malaysia seems to be jumping on the copyright/trademark bandwagon and attempting to protect the "ownership" of certain ethnic foods. Of course, this may just be a massive PR push in an attempt to grab some eyeballs. "Last year, around this time, we noted that the country of Lebanon was trying to claim that it owns hummus and other middle eastern foods, such as falafel, tabouleh and baba gannouj, and that no other country could produce them. It seems that other parts of the world are seeing the same sort of thing, as Malaysia is trying to declare that it owns popular Malaysian dishes, like nasi lemak."

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no worries (4, Funny)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493125)

Worry not, there will be cheap knockoffs coming out of China soon enough.

Yes, but... (1, Funny)

Drunken Buddhist (467947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493357)

Yes, but won't you just be hungry again in an hour if you eat one?

Re:Yes, but... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493525)

Thats the case with hamburgers and hot dogs and other traditional american food too.

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493533)

Yes, but won't you just be hungry again in an hour if you eat one?

Seeing as how the list of eating lead poisoned food symptoms includes:

Effects include abdominal pain, joint pain,[1] and chest pain. Cognitive problems such as memory loss and difficulty concentrating can also result,[5] as can behavioural changes, such as problems with sleep,[5] hyperactivity, irritability, clumsiness,[17] inability to concentrate, aggressiveness, or mood swings. Poisoning can cause neuropathy,[5] such as weakness, tremors, twitches, spasms, or cramps.

You'll be hungry regardless of how much food you eat :)

Re:no worries (5, Insightful)

Tuidjy (321055) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493859)

In the same way that Bulgaria, Serbia, and Belgium produce 'cheap knockoffs' of Feta cheese, but have to call it something else, because Greece has been awarded the 'copyright' by the EU?

"Appellation d'origine contrôlée" has existed for centuries, and there are plenty of sensible arguments for and against it. I would not mind seeing where Slashdot stands on that issue, but presenting what Malaysia is doing as a brand new concept is ridiculous.

Re:no worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493897)

But they will be made from lead and melamine.

Re:no worries (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494043)

Actually, I'd guess Malaysia would produce their own cheap knockoffs.

Re:no worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29494093)

So, would genetically re-engineering of food stuffs fall under reverse engineering laws?

Oh noes.

Depends on the country and/or food. (3, Funny)

blcamp (211756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493131)

I don't think anyone is going to challenge Scotland's copyright of haggis.

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493271)

Perhaps not, but to be on the safe side, I advise Scots to patent the genome of Haggis scoticus.

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493317)

Or, rather, the Champagne district's right to Champagne and the Cognac district's right to Cognac.

There's nothing unique in the attempt to protect the designation of origin [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (4, Informative)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493707)

According to that article, the U.S. does not generally recognize protection of the designation of origin, unless it is for products made within the U.S. Apparently you can have American champagne, but vidalia onions can only come the Vidalia, Georgia region.

However, I'm pretty sure protection of designation of origin is not covered under copywrite laws.

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493715)

Fuck, I need more caffeine, "copyright". Wheres the damn edit button?

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493763)

Especially in the EU as far as I know, although I've never really found a satisfactory citation for it. If a product incorporates a place of origin in the name such as "Cornish Pastry", "Cumberland Sausage", and any number of cheeses etc., then apparently it has to have actually have been made the the geographical location being referred to, even if the recipe is identical. Another bright idea brought to you by the numbnuts that spent taxpayers money in order to regulate the permitted curvature of bananas...

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493541)

Haggis: brought to Scotland (before it was Scotland) by either the Romans, Vikings, or another group, via most of Europe ....

Not a regional food at all ...

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493937)

They are just the only people "special" enough to eat it.

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (4, Funny)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493875)

Oh come on, give haggis a break already! It's really not that bad, and in fact has been described as having "an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour" (source of source [wikipedia.org] )... 'course, as with all foods, it'll vary based on who made it.

I urge you, give haggis a chance! I actually rather like it! Black pudding, OTOH... *shudder*

Re:Depends on the country and/or food. (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494021)

Haggis, as well as falafel, tabouleh and baba gannouj are already in the public domain. People have been eating these and calling them by their names for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years. You can't copyright The Illiad, although you could copyright a derivative work. Likewise you can't copyright a hamburger or french fries, but you can trademark "Acme Hamburgers" and copyright the packaging. That wouldn't stop anyone from selling hamburgers, only using your package art and trademark.

It's only Monday and already I think I've seen the dumbest idea I'll see all week. WTF? Is the world really run by idiots?

Just like Europe (0)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493133)

Champagne, etc. Italy tried to do the same thing with Parmesan.

Although, those are foodstuffs. Copywriting the names of dishes...

Re:Just like Europe (4, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493313)

Wrong. Those are designations of origins. Champagne and Parma are actual places. You can make parmesan or champagne, but you can't call it such (in Europe, anyway) because such a designation would denote that the foodstuff actually came from that region, and if it sucked, it would reflect poorly on the region. In the USA, a syrup producer in Kansas could not call their product 'Vermont maple syrup.' Calling a cheese 'Parmesan' or a sparkling wine 'Champagne' is like calling a syrup 'Vermont.'

AFAIK, Hummus, falafel, and so forth are generic names for foods traditional to dozens of countries. Nasi lemak means 'rice in cream' and is also not a designation of origin, therefore, attempting to copyright it is ridiculous and no other country is going to honor Malaysia's demands. Not that we in the US honor Europe's protected designations of origins anyway.

Re:Just like Europe (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493411)

Same as in the UK. Cornish Pasties, Yorkshire Pudding etc. Just give it another name and you're sorted.

Re:Just like Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493563)

Same with feta. Only feta produced in Greece can be called feta.

Re:Just like Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493569)

Very true. It is equally distressing to know that some firms in the US had attempted to claim patents over some South-Asian spices like Turmeric (as a whole against a specific medicinal chemical compound in it). This whole business of copyrights over foods needs to be sorted out.

Re:Just like Europe (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493629)

Wrong. Those are designations of origins. Champagne and Parma are actual places.

[...]

AFAIK, Hummus, falafel, and so forth are generic names for foods traditional to dozens of countries. Nasi lemak means 'rice in cream' and is also not a designation of origin, therefore, attempting to copyright it is ridiculous and no other country is going to honor Malaysia's demands.

I can think of at least one example of a protected food name which has nothing to do with origin. Feta cheese:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0DQA/is_2002_Nov_7/ai_94448045/ [findarticles.com]

Re:Just like Europe (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493663)

The problem with Parmesan and Champagne is there's not a good generic term for foodstuffs of that type not from that origin, whereas if you could get decent maple syrup outside of Vermont you could call it "maple syrup" and people would actually understand what it is.

I'm all for reasonable PDO's where there's a meaningful common generic name for the product; it's basic truth-in-advertising.

Re:Just like Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493773)

Sparkling White Wine from California, anyone?

How about some powdered cheese?(I know, not the same as Parmesan, and can be other cheeses, but if the shoe fits...)

Re:Just like Europe (2, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493915)

Sparkling wine is correct - though you it's mostly the French-owned companies (like Chandon) that call it that, plenty of the CA wineries call their sparking wine "champagne" (no capital C at least...)

But "powdered cheese"?!? You my friend, have clearly never made it past basic Kraft cheese food products. Have you ever had good Parmesean reggiano? Or in your culinary world, does Velveeta == cheddar?

Sparkling wine; grana cheese. (2, Interesting)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493935)

The problem with Parmesan and Champagne is there's not a good generic term for foodstuffs of that type not from that origin, whereas if you could get decent maple syrup outside of Vermont you could call it "maple syrup" and people would actually understand what it is.

There's a perfectly decent generic term for sparkling wine. Talking about grana cheese generically is considerably more difficult, though, at least if you want people to understand you.

Oh, damn, I take it back. (2, Interesting)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493979)

It turns out now there's a Grana Padano protected designation, so you can't call that kind of cheese grana [wikipedia.org] anymore.

Style (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493967)

What's wrong with "Parmesan-style", "Champagne-style", etc.

You could require that the "style" be in the same size and font as the other part of the name on the packaging. You could also require that the actual origin be near the name: Parmesan-style cheese from Champagne.

Re:Just like Europe (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493703)

In the USA, a syrup producer in Kansas could not call their product 'Vermont maple syrup.' Calling a cheese 'Parmesan' or a sparkling wine 'Champagne' is like calling a syrup 'Vermont.'

No it's not. The difference is that Vermont maple syrup has never been sold as just "Vermont". It's sold as "Vermont maple syrup". For better or worse "Champagne" has become a genericized trademark [wikipedia.org] . Nobody (besides a few wine snobs and angry Frenchmen) is going to look at you funny if you request 'champagne' instead of 'sparkling wine'.

Your own link contradicts you. (2, Interesting)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494069)

For better or worse "Champagne" has become a genericized trademark [wikipedia.org] .

Your own link contradicts you [wikipedia.org] . Champagne has never been a trademark; it's a protected designation of origin.

Re:Your own link contradicts you. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494105)

And that changes my point how, exactly? Go to any restaurant or liquor store in the United States and ask for 'champagne'. Nine out of ten of them will bring a list of sparkling wines, the vast majority of which aren't even French (let alone from 'Champagne')

Re:Just like Europe (2, Funny)

viper34j (1401493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493717)

I don't know about you but I'd take some Vermont on my pancakes any day...

Re:Just like Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493959)

I don't know about you but I'd take some Vermont on my pancakes any day...

As in some "Ben & Jerry's"???

Re:Just like Europe (2, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494005)

I'd take some Vermont on my pancakes any day

Would you like the sandy loam or the loose clay?

Re:Just like Europe (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493727)

That's like saying an American company can't sell French Fries if they were made in Idaho. I can call the syrup I make in my backyard Vermont Syrup all I want.

Re:Just like Europe (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493769)

Wrong. Those are designations of origins. Champagne and Parma are actual places. You can make parmesan or champagne, but you can't call it such (in Europe, anyway) because such a designation would denote that the foodstuff actually came from that region, and if it sucked, it would reflect poorly on the region.

I wonder if there's any laws in Mexico (or US) for the product known as Tequila. Contrast Tequila with mezcal, and only the latter ever contains a "worm", etc.

Re:Just like Europe (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493825)

In the US, we sidestep silly restrictions such as your "Vermont syrup" example. Wisconsin cheese is constantly being trucked into California, taken out of the boxes, dropped into other boxes labeled "Packaged in California" with no hint of it's origins.

Customers are suckers, aren't they?

Re:Just like Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493843)

Champagne and Parma are actual places.

So what? Sounds like a protection racket to me. It's not about pride or political correctness. It's about money.

Jack Daniel's can't legally call itself a Bourbon, even though it's a higher quality bourbon than many "real" bourbons. The protection racket exists simply to horde the money. You didn't think it was for your benefit, did you?

You can get a "Philly Cheesesteak" just about anywhere in the US, but that's irrelevant to somebody who judges by quality. Imagine how absurd it would be to shut down the thousands of fake phillies all over the country just to benefit some rat who's got the law on his side.

Semi-generics in US law (1)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493867)

Not that we in the US honor Europe's protected designations of origins anyway.

Actually, the USA partially does so; the EU's gripe is that the USA doesn't honor them enough. But basically, in the USA:

  1. You can't generally label a wine, cheese or other such product with a geographic designation that it's not entitled to. You can't take Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc and label it Sancerre [wikipedia.org] . (Or for that matter, you can't take Central Valley Chardonnay and call it Napa Valley.)
  2. However, there are certain names that the USA considers semi-generic [wikipedia.org] , and that are qualified exceptions to the general rule. You can take Sonoma sparkling wine and label it "Californian champagne" for sale in the USA, or fortify some Central Valley red wine and call it Californian port wine. You have to have the geographic descriptor along with the semi-generic name; you can't label your American sparkling wine simply as "Champagne," and you sure as hell can't call your cheap fortified swill an Oporto.

This seems logical (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494109)

This system seems to me to adequately protect consumers and producers, while acknowledging the fact that certain designations have become semi-generic. In America, people do not associate Champagne or Parmesan with a particular region, but with a particular taste or style. Champagne is synonymous with sparkling wine, labeling it 'California Champagne' removes any uncertainty as to origins while using a word that consumers are familiar with. While one could call Champagne 'sparkling wine,' what could one even call Parmesan except Parmesan without confusing the consumer even more? Stinky hard Italian style cow's milk cheese?

Re:Just like Europe (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493997)

By definition, Champagne (the beverage) comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France. Everything else is "Sparkling white wine".

The United States have recognized the exclusive nature of this name, yet maintain a legal structure that allows longtime domestic producers of sparkling wine to continue to use the term "champagne" under specific circumstances. Some states have laws banning this usage.

If, for decades if not centuries, Maple syrup was only available from Vermont, from specific Maple trees whose export was banned, using a technique that was a secret known only to people from Vermont, as was the case for Champagne, then Maple syrup might be known as "Vermont".

Re:Just like Europe (1)

moose_hp (179683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493611)

Tequila can only be named as such if it is made in Jalisco, Mexico (I don't remember if it have to actually be made in the the town of Tequila or it can be anywhere in the state), however there is no restriction on the production, you can actually make tequila, but not name it "Tequila".

LOL (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493139)

Malaysia is a melange of 5 or more cultures. Good luck.

No copyright for recipes in Western world (3, Informative)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493153)

Sorry Malaysia.
All your recipe are belong to us.

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html [copyright.gov]

Re:No copyright for recipes in Western world (1)

IcyNeko (891749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493325)

Now getting Mugatu to summon Zoolander...

Indonesia is very ticked off (4, Interesting)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493171)

Because Malaysia has been claiming certain Indonesian dances are Malaysian.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/09/16/issue-%E2%80%98betawi-group-threatens-harass-malaysians%E2%80%99.html [thejakartapost.com]

Re:Indonesia is very ticked off (1, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493527)

Meh. They all look the same to me.

There is a difference betweeen a dish and a food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493179)

"Malaysia is trying to declare that it owns popular Malaysian dishes, like nasi lemak."

Frankly, who gives a shit? I've never heard of it. Is there a massive export market?

Now, they might be claiming ownership of certain FOODS, like Champagne, parmesan, or other foods that are restricted by place of origin.

And even if they claim ownership, that is just a label. Nothing stops other people from making wine "methode champenoise" or food that tastes exactly the same.

RMS (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493209)

RMS has been making recipe analogies (with respect to free software) for decades. Finally, the until-recently-lawless world of cooking is catching up with the highly developed and modern law-abiding world of software. That will teach our bearded gourmet! There's no free(-as-in-speech) lunch!

Re:RMS (1)

rajanala83 (813645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493877)

better don't try his weisswurst and brezn.

Re:RMS (2, Funny)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494037)

I think you just described all the flavors of Linux! They all follow the same general recipe, but they are all slightly different after baked/compiled. One company likes to add a splash of gnome, the other likes kde, etc. Naturally this plays hell at a banquet when the guests see the bowl labeled with the name of the dish but have no idea if their utensils will work quite right with that particular homemade dish. They prefer the storebought box of mac-n-cheese that tastes the same every single time and they don't need to worry if their fork is somehow incompatible with todays version of the corn kernels in the dish.

Egads, I think I abused the hell out of that analogy. Should I have done a car analogy instead? :}

(c) -- seriuosly (2, Funny)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493237)

I hereby copyright the idea of putting chocolate pieces into a cookie -- pizza fillings inside pastry dough available for microwave or oven bake -- and the idea of diet sodas.
let's see how this goes over

Surprising (2, Interesting)

imkonen (580619) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493245)

It sounds a little silly, but how different is it from other copyrights? I think most people would agree that culinary arts are as as much an exercise in creativity as visual or audio art. A particular combination of available flavors creates whole greater than the sum. Certainly copyrighting a recipe doesn't seem any different to me than a piece of software code. I guess the weak part in Malaysia's claim is that they seem to be trying to retroactively pull public domain works (recipes that have been around for generations) back into the copyrighted realm, but even that is nothing new [nytimes.com] . If they can get back the rights to their ethnic food, it seems like Beethoven's descendants should be able to continue collecting royalties on his works.

Re:Surprising (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493759)

Recipes (that is, listing of ingredients by proportion) are not copyrightable, at least in the USA. This has nothing to do with copyright. You don't understand what you're talking about.

Re:Surprising (5, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493803)

It sounds a little silly, but how different is it from other copyrights?

Copyrights cover creative works; it's patents that cover useful arts. Food is rendered uncopyrightable due to utility. Methods of preparing food, i.e. recipes, are uncopyrightable as well. While inventive chefs could seek patents, and some do, it seems to be fairly uncommon, and the requirement of novelty would make it useless here anyway.

What this really sounds like to me is a designation of origin issue, which is somewhat like a trademark. Personally, I'm not a big fan of them. Champagne, to me at least, is a product which can be made in many different places around the world. I don't mind putting a national or regional appellation on it (French champagne, Australian champagne) if it is applied equally to everyone, but I don't like the idea that it can only be called champagne at all if it is from a specific part of France, regardless of how similar or even identical it might be with the same product made elsewhere. This, IMO, doesn't inform customers, but misleads them, and doesn't aid the market, but hinders it (by implicitly discouraging competition by outside manufacturers).

Re:Surprising (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493947)

Why just musicians descendants? Let's extend it a little.

      I am of predominantly English and Scottish extraction, and have traced my descent from several of the most prominent inventors of the 17th through 19th centuries. If we could only make this scheme universal, For just one, I am probably close enough to both Fulton and Babbage to be able to collect royalties on some of the biggest developments in both power generation and computation in human history. There are probably a thousand people living who are closer to some such persons, but I would definitely fall in the range where my tiny fractional share of a mere 0.3 to 0.5% royalty for use on some of my ancestor's basic ideas would literally mean I could quit working, kick back, and clip certificates to the tune of 10 million dollars a year or so.
        Making money from Beethoven or even Cola bases soft drinks would be trivial for most heirs compared to what perpetual rights to certain basic inventions assigned proportionately in the absence of a contraindicating will would be worth once the world's legal systems simply adopted this rule universally.
      I'm also distantly related to Wittgenstein - how do I make money off of that?

not alone trying trademark traditional food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493281)

few years back companies in Slovenia tried to trademark ajvar
what is next, a trademark for ham?

Durian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493287)

That's what that smells like, it smells like a big old durian fruit...

we already copywritten recipes (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493289)

in america, and the recipe copyrights as is evidenced by kernel sanders and his infamous C&D orders against imitators are enforced. look in the drinks book at any applebees bar, youll see copyrights. bonefish copyrights all their sauce recipes and mcdonalds copyrights their secret sauce recipe.

Re:we already copywritten recipes (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493645)

and the recipe copyrights as is evidenced by kernel sanders

Dude. You've been spending too much time hacking your Linux box. But then, who hasn't? Excuse me while I recompile my colonel.

Re:we already copywritten recipes (1)

jggimi (1279324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494033)

I cannot add mod points, so I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:we already copywritten recipes (4, Informative)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493725)

No, they don't. The secret recipes of McDonalds and KFC are trade secrets [wikipedia.org] .

Re:we already copywritten recipes (0, Troll)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494071)

Another big reason for calling them a trade secret is so they don't have to show the public all the unpronounceable chemical names and crap in the food. They do have to show the FDA though, who is pretty much bought and sold by big pharma and food anyway.

Re:we already copywritten recipes (1)

LaraineMae (1516761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494111)

I strongly suggest to NOT eat at any KFC in Malaysia. I did and I don't think it was chicken. And it was 20 times worse than KFC in the USA!

Re:we already copywritten recipes (1)

james.m.henderson (1491189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493829)

I'm know that the KFC recipe http://www.newsday.com/business/coca-cola-and-kfc-s-secret-formulas-are-safe-for-now-1.886055 [newsday.com] and big mac Secret sauce http://www.walletpop.com/specials/closely-guarded-trade-secrets?icid=200100397x1210050216x1200602328# [walletpop.com] are trade secrets, not copyrights or patents. This technique means that they will never have their patents or copyrights expire on their items (haha, like copyrights really expire anymore...). They would also of course trademark the _name_ of these items. So it is not exactly that the recipes are copyrighted, just that they are secret and you aren't allowed to call something else by the same or similar name.

Re:we already copywritten recipes (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493833)

They don't copyright their recipes, AFAIK, they keep them secret. I used to own a cookbook that taught how to make a taste-alike version of the Colonel's Original Recipe (flour, salt, white and black pepper and MSG) and Big Mac sauce; the author was not sued for copyright infringement. There are trademarks, which prevent you from selling something called a Big Mac, but right now Carl's Jr. (Hardee's) is selling a sandwich that they advertise as being a bigger Big Mac. Legal threats? Not so much.

Re:we already copywritten recipes (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494079)

To add to what others have said, The Kentucky Fried Chicken C&Ds were not about recipes. They were about the naming and look of the restaurants. KFC claimed that certain restaurants were trying to lure in customers by appearing to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant by using similar color schemes and names such ask Kennedy Fried Chicken and Kantacky Fried Chicken.

It was a trademark claim, not a copyright claim.

You don't seem to know the difference between trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and probably patents.

Imma chargin' Malaysia! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493305)

Who is in charge of Malaysia?

Imma chargin' Malaysia!!!

Malaysia at it again (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493339)

First those silly and outdated child labor laws, now this.

Trademark the Hamburger (1)

CruddyBuddy (918901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493367)

1: Trademark hamburger (cheeseburger too! Fries while I'm at it.)
2: License to McDonald's
3: Profit!

window of opportunity closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493457)

very long ago

Re:Trademark the Hamburger (2, Funny)

richdun (672214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493809)

But see, McDonald's is already 10 steps ahead of you there - when franchisees complained about the cost of a "double cheeseburger" ("universally" recognized as a sandwich with 2 hamburger patties and 2 slices of cheese) then on the Dollar Menu, they created a "new" sandwich with 2 patties, 1 slice of cheese and called it the "McDouble," moving the "double cheeseburger" up to something like $1.29 and putting the "McDouble" on the Dollar Menu.

And, speaking of Malaysia, they already go after anyone with "Mc" in the name - so no trademarking "McSandwich" or "McBreadWithMeat" or "McDoubleMcMeatProductWithMcCheeseProduct."

Diluted Meaning (3, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493393)

The more copyrights, patents, trademarks and the like are applied to all aspects of existence the less people will pay attention to them. People will largely treat them as meaningless and tread all over them even in areas generally considered legitimate.

Re:Diluted Meaning (2, Interesting)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493895)

This is not a copyright or patent issue, nor is it strictly a trademark issue either. It is the seldom-referenced fourth category of "intellectual property," geographical indicators. It, like trademark, is rooted in the principle that prevents you from opening up a burger shop with big golden arches out front. Companies have a right to enforce their brand, and geographical regions have a right to regulate the quality and authenticity of any product bearing a claim of origin in that region. This is the most defensible type of intellectual property. (That said, I know nothing about the merits of this particular case.)

trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493423)

can one trademark trademarking? Cause that is the only way this can get any more dumb.

Re:trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493571)

I don't know... that might just be the only way to stop it...

We should do this with American foods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493447)

The copyrights on French fries, hot dogs, and pizza alone should be able to pay for universal health care.

Re:We should do this with American foods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493853)

Aren't those French, German and Italian, respectively?

You just couldn't call it "hummous". (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493481)

You could make hummous. You just couldn't call it "hummous".

The concept is foreign to the US, but to much older areas, culturally, it's very important. You can't make "Delft" pottery except in Delft. You can't make "champaign" except in the Champaign region of France.

And cheeses, don't get me started.

Of course, that wouldn't apply in the US which doesn't recognize this (since they're ancient names and words, which thus would not be copyrightable or trademarkable, IANAL YMMV) but the US's not the point here.

Re:You just couldn't call it "hummous". (2, Informative)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493581)

You can't make "Delft" pottery except in Delft.

Delft pottery is a Dutch knockoff of Chinese pottery. Maybe the Chinese should sue?

Re:You just couldn't call it "hummous". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493601)

In all honesty, though, Lebanon has a point about falafels. The stuff they sell from frozen food aisles around here in Finland as falafels is quite atrocious. If I were a Lebanese official afraid of my country's reputation, that would surely be my first thing to worry about.

Re:You just couldn't call it "hummous". (1)

Avalain (1321959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493819)

Well, if the TFA is correct and they are trying to trademark hummus, you COULD call it "hummous". Or perhaps you could call it hamos, houmous, hommos, hommus, hummos, or humus [wikipedia.org] .

Re:You just couldn't call it "hummous". (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493891)

You could make hummous. You just couldn't call it "hummous".

The concept is foreign to the US, but to much older areas, culturally, it's very important. You can't make "Delft" pottery except in Delft. You can't make "champaign" except in the Champaign region of France.

Please point me to the state, city or region in the middle east called "Hummous." I couldn't find it in Google Maps.

Then please point me to the city or region in Malaysia called "Nasi Lemak". I couldn't find that in Google Maps either.

Re:You just couldn't call it "hummous". (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494041)

The US is a member of the UN, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization, and a signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, so, this does apply in the US. The particular terms may be different (e.g., Parmesan is permitted in the US, but within Europe the term "Italian hard cheese" is used to refer to cheese made in the style of, but not within the borders of, the Parmigiano-Reggiano region), but the protection is required of all signatory members.

Prime Rib (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493491)

I am "steaking" a claim on Prime Rib, in the name of the United States of America! We will not give up this wonderful, artery-clogging delicacy!

Re:Prime Rib (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493687)

It's only Prime Rib if it comes from Prime beef. Otherwise, it's just a standing rib roast (which itself is a noble thing). Chances are, you're not buying Prime at the supermarket.

The EU kind of has something like this already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493493)

I know that in the EU and several of its member countries, there is something similar - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_Geographical_Status .

Basically, it means that someone can't market a product as being, say, traditional Aged Sherry Vinegar (Vinegar de Juarez), unless it comes from the traditional sherry producing areas.

I like it. It helps maintain quality, authentic products and makes it easy to spot the fake knockoffs.

ATTN: SLASHDOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493513)

I'm going to kick your ass. In the face!

NOT Copyright... (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493593)

As the linked article mentions, the cited article [google.com] only mentions "copyright" in the headline. Nowhere in the actual article does it mention that Malaysia is making any copyright claims (or with which copyright entity).

Rather, the article details Malaysia's claim that the food originated from Malaysia, not that it's owned by Malaysia. I read it as just a semantic claim.

It's the equivalent to Germany asserting that the hot dog [wikipedia.org] is German.

then there'll be free software analogies (3, Insightful)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493595)

    When people have to campaign for their freedom to share and change recipes, they can simply reverse Stallman's recipe example [fsfe.org] :

  But these freedoms should not be strange to you. At least, not if you cook, because people who cook enjoy the same four freedoms in using recipes.

The freedom to cook the recipe when you want. Thatâ(TM)s freedom zero. The freedom to study the ingredients and how itâ(TM)s done, and then change it. Thatâ(TM)s freedom one. Cooks frequently change recipes. And then the freedom to copy it and hand copies to your friends. Thatâ(TM)s freedom two. And then, freedom three is less frequently exercised because itâ(TM)s more work, but if you cook your version of the recipes for a dinner with your friends, and a friend says "that was great, can I have the recipe?" you can write down your version of the recipe and make a copy for your friend.

I own the Copyright to Malaysian.... (1)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493599)

History, Culture, Government, Land, and anything else that I may or may not have thought of related to Malaysia. Please pay me.

The story behind it (2, Informative)

Amitz Sekali (891064) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493655)

Indonesia and Malaysia is currently in a...uh.. copyright war. For a few months, there are some cultural stuff (like dance, show, food) that each claims to origin from themselves. I believe it was started by a Malaysia tourism advertisement that claims certain dance to origin from Malaysia.

Not a new phenominon (5, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#29493657)

I don't know how you could blame them. In 1997 a US company called RiceTek patented a strain of Rice they called Basmati, a name the Indians have been using for centuries. All kinds of companies take out defensive patents, where they never intend to collect money from other people, but they don't want to pay for obvious ideas either. There's no reason the same thing wouldn't happen in the copyright arena. From here [american.edu] :

According to Dr Vandana Shiva, director of a Delhi-based research foundation which monitors issues involving patents and biopiracy, the main aim for obtaining the patent by RiceTec Inc. is to fool the consumers in believing there is no difference between spurious Basmati and real Basmati. Moreover, she claims the "theft involved in the Basmati patent is, therefore, threefold: a theft of collective intellectual and biodiversity heritage on Indian farmers, a theft from Indian traders and exporters whose markets are being stolen by RiceTec Inc., and finally a deception of consumers since RiceTec is using a stolen name Basmati for rice which are derived from Indian rice but not grown in India, and hence are not the same quality."

It doesn't seem odd the Malaysians would seek to prevent similar problems. The situation isn't exactly the same, since this is a copyright and RiceTek took out a patent, but I think the business objective is the same.

Regarding TFS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29493795)

Techdirt is reporting that Malaysia seems to be jumping on the copyright/trademark bandwagon and attempting to protect the "ownership" of certain ethnic foods. Of course, this may just be a massive PR push in an attempt to grab some eyeballs.

Now, I've heard of some weird foreign foods, but is that some kind of Malaysian delicacy?

Public Domain (2, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494057)

Although forces of evil like Disney would like to have it otherwise, copyrights are still for a limited period of time. In the U.S. this is even spelled out in our Constitution, with the copyrighted material them passing into Public Domain. This article is talking about traditional foods, not some newfangled "Invention" (which might be covered by shorter lasting patents than longer lasting copyright). So even if the concept of copyright on food were valid (and I believe it is bogus), wouldn't these foods have passed into Public Domain long ago?

Alternately, can a claim of copyright be made by a country? Wouldn't a copyright claim have to be made by an author? Clearly the government of these countries are not the authors of these foods, so they have no copyright claim on them. It is more reasonable to assume that the real author wanted their intellectual property to pass into public domain than to fall into the hands of politicians.

Not copyright (2)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29494065)

Uh, this has nothing to do with copyright. The TRIPS agreement formally established geographical indicators as protected intellectual property about 15 years ago. It's similar to a trademark, as it is an assurance of quality and consistency of product. As others above pointed out, the same protection exists for Champagne, Cognac, Parmigiano, Basmati, and several hundred others. I can make no assessment of whether this instance is justified or not, but the linked blog post (and most of the responses here) is kneejerk and uninformed.
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