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Beer Open Source News

Open Source Beer Served Cold, With a Heated Licensing Discussion 112

sethopia writes "Sam Muirhead enjoys a couple of open source beers and delves into their licenses (Creative Commons BY-NC-SA) and the recent CC Non Commercial license controversy. As Sam writes, 'Depending on your point of view, the Non Commercial license is either the methadone that can wean copyright junkies off their all-rights-reserved habit, or it is a gateway drug to the psychedelic and dangerously addictive world of open source and free culture.'"
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Open Source Beer Served Cold, With a Heated Licensing Discussion

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  • What's next? Open-source chocolate chip cookies?

  • by 200_success ( 623160 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:39AM (#41258065)
    Is that Free as in beer, or Free as in beer?
  • Copyrightable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lisaparratt ( 752068 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:49AM (#41258109)

    I thought recipes weren't copyrightable anyway, and only particular encodings of recipes could be copyrighted.

    • Re:Copyrightable? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2@gdarga[ ]net ['ud.' in gap]> on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:02AM (#41258139) Homepage
      There are some high profile chefs who have complained about having their recipes 'stolen' and are pushing for copyright on recipes []. Never mind that they wouldn't be allowed to boil an egg if that was the case as the recipe would belong to some copyright troll...
      • Re:Copyrightable? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:38AM (#41258533)

        The skill of a good chef is not in the recipe, but in the execution.

        Anyone can follow a recipe; that doesn't make you a chef.

        • I think you mean:

          Zee skeell ooff a guud cheff is nut in zee receepe-a, boot in zee ixecooshun. Bork Bork Bork!

          • by skine ( 1524819 )

            I think you mean:

            The fuck were you thinking working from a fucking cookbook, you fucking donkey?


        • Every chef I have ever known, including myself, never follows recipes - they just mess you up. I go by taste and experience. If you can't taste it and know what it needs, you aren't a chef. If this is the case, follow the recipe...
          • by Creepy ( 93888 )

            By the time you get to be a chef, you've probably got a good handle on how to make a lot of different things and don't need a recipe. I'm not a chef, but I can bake most pastries, breads, and pizza dough without a recipe and often don't even measure ingredients. A recipe is often bad - it gives you an idea, but it takes experience to know when a dough is too hard or soft, for instance, and that may be due to, say, eggs being slightly larger or smaller than the ones in the recipe.

            I've also gotten to the poin

          • I've also met a couple of chefs who BEG for the recipe when you offer them something new and different. Can we agree that a recipe is a starting point, rather than distaining them completely? "Oh, I'm a chef because I don't follow a recipe." Neither does my niece when she makes mud pies.
        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          Reminds me of the guy who showed some pictures to a chef. The chef said "Wow, great pictures. You must have a great camera." The guy said nothing and after the meal said:
          "Wow, great food. You must have a great kitchen."

      • The crime was that they ever thought they "owned" the recipe to begin with. Imagine if Chocolate cake had a screwed up license like the song "happy birthday" does... That's right, lets ruin everyones birthday even further with more copyright law.
      • by gr8_phk ( 621180 )
        Since they are "pushing for copyright on recipes" that suggest there is none today. Hence any "open source" license for a recipe is misleading and setting a bad precedent. It's also flawed in the sense that it would have to effectively say "by reading this recipe you agree to these terms" - worse than any EULA. Once you see a recipe, the cat's out of the bag. This could only work if you make reading and agreeing to a license a precondition of being able to get the recipe.

        I'm all for open source, but could
    • I agree, broken the golden rule and read the article... This is insidious, Meir should not be able to force copyright on a beer recipe, protect the trademark, yes, but claiming copyright on a beer recipe is going too far.
    • Re:Copyrightable? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:04AM (#41258155) Homepage

      I would agree — it might be clearer in some countries than in others, but the mere list of ingredients, and the process of putting them together, is not capable of being the subject of copyright in itself. Here, there seems to be a greater emphasis on the aspect of transparency, and the publication of something which, for many, probably amounts to a trade secret. As such, irrespective of the copyrightability of the recipe, the real joy for me is that it is the manufacturer publishing the recipe, for others to make, enjoy and modify.

      Whether a licence should be placed on that recipe is more of a concern, though, is more of a concern — it attempts to impose protection on something incapable of protection. For those who argue that these licences are contracts, there's perhaps less of an issue, but for those who see them as simple licences, which only work because of the permission to perform an otherwise restricted act, it is perhaps not ideal.

      Conversely, could one argue that this is the licensing of a trade secret? Potentially a tough argument, on the basis that it would seem to flaunt one of the core tenets of secrecy, given that it is published, and an argument which could be problematic through an over-extension of copyright, but, in spirit, this seems closer to what is being done here than copyright licensing.

      • Re:Copyrightable? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:38AM (#41258525)

        Here, there seems to be a greater emphasis on the aspect of transparency, and the publication of something which, for many, probably amounts to a trade secret.

        Conversely, could one argue that this is the licensing of a trade secret? Potentially a tough argument, on the basis that it would seem to flaunt one of the core tenets of secrecy, given that it is published.

        Uniform Trade Secrets Act (not itself a law, but a model law which has been adopted by many states with minor modifications):
        "'Trade secret' means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:
              (i) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and
              (ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

        It is no longer a trade secret. Period. None of the obligations of the CC licence impose a secrecy obligation, therefore the recipe lost whatever claim it had to trade secret protection. It is readily ascertainable by proper means, and not subect to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

        So long as you don't use this particular copy of the recipie to manufacture your commercial beer, you're free to use the ingredients and process to manufacture your commercial beer. Reduce the recipie to a bare list of ingredients and a minimal description of the process, remaining as objectively factual as possible. Avoid quoting anything that you absolutely do not need to. Then go about your business.

        The law concerning recipies is clear and settled. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 is your friend.

        • Uniform Trade Secrets Act ... The law concerning recipies is clear and settled. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 is your friend.

          Thanks — particularly for those of you in the US, those two things are worth knowing.

      • I hate to play devil's advocate, because I think copyrights are fucked up beyond measure thanks to Disney hitting the snooze alarm, but if we are gonna force the creators to list the ingredients in order of amount (thus pretty much forcing them to include the recipe) shouldn't they get something for that?

        After all we give limited protections in the form of patents to the others that we force to give us the info, but food and drink we force to give the info without anything in return.

        • by dargaud ( 518470 )

          food and drink we force to give the info without anything in and drink we force to give the info without anything in return.

          What do you mean. If it's in a restaurant, you are paying the chef for the food. Otherwise where do you see recipes ? In cooking books or magazines. Which you pay for. It's not a case of something for nothing.

        • if we are gonna force the creators to list the ingredients in order of amount (thus pretty much forcing them to include the recipe) shouldn't they get something for that?

          I'm not sure which law forces a company to provide a list of ingredients — some kind of consumer protection / food standards law?

          If that's the case — and I speculate completely here — I would have thought that the "something" that the company gets is the ability to sell the product; the trade off is that, in exchange for the ability to sell the product, the company is required to provide a bare minimum of information about its content, so that potential purchasers can make informed deci

          • Well I simply hated playing devils advocate here because I think copyrights have been made a disgusting land grab thanks to Disney and the mouse, but I question everything.

            Its not the listing of ingredients that I question, I get that because you may have an allergy to rose hips or whatever, its the "forcing to list in order of amount" that I question. After all if you WERE allergic to rose hips then it really doesn't matter if you have 10% or 25% does it? You'll avoid that product.

            But by forcing them to

            • its the amount part which makes no damned sense to me

              Again pure speculation on my part, but it seems to be down to informed choice — I'd have thought consumers would want to know if their sausages are 99% meat or 10% meat, and whether their fruit juice contains a mostly water, a lot of sugar and a mere hint of apple, or is actually pure pressed apple.

              To argue with myself, even if that were the case, arguably it is something the market could regulate itself — if a consumer were sufficiently unsure, they would not buy, and companies with high per

              • Well you could solve that by saying "contains at least X amount" which next time you are in a store look at the mixed nuts as they already list "contains less than x amount of peanuts" on the label.

                And I agree completely this is one of those areas where competition and the market would take care of it, those with better quality ingredients would brag while those that didn't would be looked upon as low quality, and again without having to list exactly what is in everything in what amounts.

                Because the only

        • Hmmm. Straight off a coke label I found on the Internet:
          carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color (man does it annoy me having to put the American spelling for colour down here), phosphoric acid, natural flavors (aaaaggghhhh), caffeine.
          I don't think they're being forced to give out all that much information.
  • Beer recipes are generally not that secret, visit a brewery and you're generally shown the full process and ingredients. It's true that most don't give the recipe away, but if you know your brewing it's not hard to reproduce. If you get talking to a brewer and show some interest they'll point you in the right direction. I might be ignorant, but I've never heard of a brewer suing another brewer over a recipe or beer making process. Most brewers are happy to share. Yeast is another matter, many breweries clos
  • Eh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:17AM (#41258215) Journal

    CC 'non-commercial' strikes me as actually overwhelmingly different, in terms of objectives and in terms of the interactions being planned for(or against) than the more software-focused GPL/LGPL/BSD/MIT crowd:

    With the software-focused licenses, the thinking(regardless of which camp you fall into on the questions of which interests you value most highly) is really about the relationship between the original developer, intermediate bundlers/distributors, and end users. Some licenses(ie. BSD) prefer to impose basically no restrictions beyond attribution on the intermediate users, considering it sufficient that the original developer can do what they want, and the end user(while they may or may not have any access to the guts of whatever binaries they get from the intermediate bundlers) does have access to the original project. LGPL is more aggressive about protecting the interests of the original project; by requiring intermediate distributors of works that include the original to make their changes available; but doesn't go much further than BSD in terms of watching over the end user. GPL explicitly demands that the end user's interest in access to the code be preserved, and the AGPL and GPL3 address the same interests in the context of 'cloud' and 'tivoized' scenarios.

    However, across all of that, 'commercial/noncommercial' isn't an area of distinction. Obviously, these licenses have an effect on the viability of certain commercial schemes; but they have no explicit objectives in that area: If you can find a way to make money by selling software that is available in source form under the GPL3, rock on. If your freedom to add whatever proprietary features to FreeBSD can't save you from being crushed by generic upstream FreeBSD, sucks to be you.

    By contrast, the whole idea of 'commercial' vs. 'noncommercial' reflects an explicit focus on matters that the software focused licenses leave implicit or simply consider an irrelevant detail to be worked out by what people can actually manage to succeed or fail at making money on. The closest analog, perhaps, is the bit in GPL compliance where it applies only if you distribute, not if you use internally. "Commercial/noncommercial" is a sort of much broader extension of that, positing that there is a 'noncommercial' area of culture-as-something-that-people-do that is separate from, and not merely a 'cottage industry' scaled version of the 'commercial' culture-as-something-that-media-industries-do, which is a monetary phenomenon and distinct both in degree and in kind from the noncommercial flavor.

    In the context of software, I have to admit that I like the conceptual frameworks of the software-oriented licenses much better. This isn't to say that software cannot be a cultural thing; but most software is tools, complex tools, and it seems both appropriate and pragmatic to think about tools in terms of "How can we get good tools?" and "How can we ensure that our labor in producing tools ends up putting tools in the hands we want them to end up in?" OSS/FOSS licensing is a rather novel technique, born of the peculiar economics of software, for answering these questions; but it's actually a fairly conservative conceptual framework.

    If anything, the 'Commercial'/'Noncommercial' framework is much more radical: The implicit assertion that there are areas of cultural output that are simply not amenable to resolution along the lines of market commerce(while certainly supportable, if Team Anthropologist fancies a trip back from the tribal regions to inform us that people who don't even have currency somehow manage to have music...); but it isn't necessarily something that would be a natural fit in ye olde contemporary consumer capitalist economies of the early 21st century... By contrast, CC-sharealike, CC-attribution, and similar are practically analogous to the software-oriented concepts, just written to cover non-software more cleanly, in that they don't posit this commercial/noncommercial distinction; but are more focused on either the GPL-style protection of the downstream user and the upstream developer, or the BSD style protection of attribution without significant interference in the distribution process.

    • by tibman ( 623933 )

      I think it's more targeted. Noncommerical is targeted to end-users, not targeted at an organization to repackage and then sell to end-users. If someone wants to sell it, they have to ask the copyright owner. A lot of software is the same and gets around this problem by selling support for the "free" software.

    • However, across all of that, 'commercial/noncommercial' isn't an area of distinction.


      If you can find a way to make money by selling software that is available in source form under the GPL3, rock on.

      In the case of software, commercial users - and re-sellers - will usually want some sort of guaranteed support if they're going to build a commercial product or service around somebody's open source project - or even use it in a business-critical role. In a sense, the commercial/noncommercial distinction sorts itself out: commercial users have an incentive to go back to the author. Third-parties selling support are, arguably, doing just that, selling support rather than re-selling the software. There is

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        However, the main thing is choice: the Creative Commons initiative currently offer a really good choice of licensees from the "Noncommercial/NoDerivs" (which is still one hell of an improvement from 'all rights reserved and I'd sue you for reading it to your kid if I thought I could get away with it' status quo) to full-blown 'copyleft' if you want it. It would be a pity if that was wrecked by idealism.

        All rights reserved doesn't prevent you from posting your story online and letting everyone read it. NoCom

        • I think most artists (and publishers) in any medium would disagree with your analysis of CC-NC-ND: there's a dramatic difference between just giving you a free copy, and also giving you perpetual rights to give other people free copies. Not to mention giving the same rights to everyone downstream. I'm sure librarians appreciate the distinction at least as much as well, basically you're saying that as long as at least one copy of the work exists it can be freely copied among fans, regardless of the state o

    • Well, it's more easy than this. If you have a "non-commercial use" license, then it's not free software. Remember we have the following freedom (nothing new):
      0- Use
      1- Studdy and modify
      2- Redistribute and share
      3- Redistribute modified copies

      In the case of non-commercial clause, you loose freedom 2 and 3. In Debian, we all agree to the DFSG: Debian Free Software Guidelines: [] which clearly specify that we shouldn't "Discrimination Against Persons or Groups". Such lice
      • I think that comes down to a philisophical distinction - you don't lose freedoms 2 and 3, you simply have them restricted to non-commercial redistribution. That does make it incompatible with the GPL, but it doesn't make it "non-free" any more than the GPL's restriction against being incorporated into proprietary products.

        Information freedom covers a lot of ground over a multi-dimensional spectrum - the endpoints are fixed at full public domain (maximally free) and all rights reserved in perpetuity (minima

        • Well, as you say, it's a philisophical distinction. For us (eg: Debian contributors), any software that discriminates people or groups of people for its license is non-free. The line has to be drawn somewhere. We decided that it each time a software is non-free in some condition, then it's non-free and that's it. And I really like that we think this way.
          • My point is that calling other positions "non-free" is inherently derogatory and, since your position is itself less free than many others, hypocritical. The various versions of the CC family of licenses may be less free, more free, or both simultaneously in different respects, but since you do not occupy a maximally-free position, and none of them occupy a minimally-free position, you cannot call any of them non-free while maintaining intellectual honesty - you need to insert a qualifier in there (non-De

  • is a rip off of the American band "Beastie Boys" and does irreparable damage to the band by associating it with a New Zealand beer.

    The band's lawyers have been notified and this craft brew will be sued into oblivion.

    Now that we got that over with... what's the topic of this discussion?

  • If they didn't want you making money off it (so that they could make more money) then they certainly don't want you out there NOT making money off of it (which would make you much stiffer competition at the unbeatable price point of free).
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:36AM (#41258517) Homepage Journal
    So basically he is doing what people have been doing for eons(sharing how to brew beer), but he has added the secret ingredient, pretentiousness and psuedo-intellectual drivel! Just what I always wanted with my suds.
    • Stone has been bottling pretentiousness all along. It works well if you include it with really excellent beer.

      • by fatphil ( 181876 )
        And on our side of the Atlantic, BrewDog have been taking Stone's pretentiousness and ice distilling it. Unfortunately a significant proportion of their beers suck (unlike the Stone beers that I've had, which have almost all been hits).
        • Found the stone 18th anniversary IPA yet? nom nom

          • by fatphil ( 181876 )
            Here are my Stones:
            Apparently nobody's had any 18th Anniversary:
            However, as the 16th anniversary only appeared a month ago, perhaps that was a typo:
            The chances of it reaching Estonia are slim. It might hit Utobeer in London, for example, and I try to go there at least once a year. Perhaps will get it too, who knows? I'll lo
      • by heson ( 915298 )
        Stone old guardian, drinking it now, most probably the best beer in the world.
  • Free beer, served over a Internet "series of tubes". They could make money by selling information about what and how much you drink to anyone interested.

    Like, the police, for example.

  • While the intention of the CC licences may have been to encourage reuse by standardization, I find that in many areas, it's still quite murky.

    For one, what's non-commercial? The FAQ [] doesn't quite say, other than to point you to a survey [] of what some people think non-commercial means, which is all over the map. If you've got a picture, and you merely reprint it, is that non-commercial? If you have ads on a page? If you're a non-profit? A non-profit selling (selling=dollars) tickets for a concert using an NC

  • I have been a homebrewer for 4+ years - and I have brewed with commercial brewers. I have taken commercially-produced wort (pre-beer) home and fermented it at home. I have gotten the "commercial" recipes for beers and replicated them on my homebrew equipment. All this I have done - and I can guarantee you that you will never replicate a beer. You could get close...but to say that "open source" beer gives you the same beer they produce is just not true. If you are going to make beer - there are tons of reaso
  • Just release it into the public domain and be done with it.
  • It's getting decent ingredients and buying proper equipment and spending enough time that makes the end product work.

    I'm more of a cider man, and the recipe there's even simpler: chuck a ton of rotten apples in a barrel, add a couple of rats, then strain off the liquid when it starts bubbling. Something like that anyway.
  • Who needs shitty open source zealot recipes when there's []?
  • Brewing beer at home has been around for millenia. Sharing of recipes online is huge within the homebrewing community. What good is an "open-source" beer? A recipe cannot be copyrighted. The brew itself cannot be patented. The only thing they're doing is sharing the recipe, along with a sample of the beer. Big deal. Many microbreweries share recipes for their brews on their own web sites. Saying the beer is "open-source" simply means you look like a pretentious douche by calling it "open-source".
  • Yeastie Boys have now added a license note to their recipe page - you can brew and sell Digital IPA as Digital IPA under the CC- Attribution-Sharealike license: [] Cheers!

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