Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

“The beer that had to unprotect itself”

Protected geographical designation laws, which prevent the sale in some countries of articles like Champagne or Gouda cheese unless produced in the indicated locality, are sometimes defended as advancing consumers’ interest in fraud prevention or accuracy in labeling; it is also suspected that they can serve to curtail competition and protect incumbents even when no genuinely distinctive local contributions are at issue of soil, technique, etc. In 2000, Newcastle Breweries and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, obtained a designation on Newcastle Brown Ale, a popular product dating back to 1927, to prevent it from being sold unless manufactured in the city. That didn’t work out so well when the brewery moved to nearby Gateshead four years later. Dan Lewis, Now I Know:

EU regulators took notice and weren’t as forgiving as the brewers would have hoped. The owners of the Newcastle Brown Ale brand had two obvious choices: move back across the Tyne or change the name of the product. Neither was a good option, so the brewery decided to do something new: they applied to have the registration canceled. And as seen in this pdf, they were successful. In August 2007, the EU revoked Newcastle Brown Ale’s PGI status, allowing it to be made across the river — or anywhere else.

Today, Newcastle Brown Ale is made in neither Newcastle nor Gateshead. Heineken, which bought the Newcastle’s brewers in 2008, has since relocated operations to Amsterdam.

Free speech roundup

  • “There are about 10 to 20 [criminal libel] prosecutions each year throughout the country” [Eugene Volokh on criminal defamation complaint by Montana judge against election opponent who had accused him of misconduct]
  • “Shutting down Fake News Could Move Us Closer to a Modern-Day ‘1984’” [Flemming Rose and Jacob Mchangama, Washington Post/Cato]
  • Glad to be in America with our First Amendment: EU acts to adopt Europe-wide rules requiring social media companies to take down so-called hate speech [Mashable, Engadget] More: DW. And a decree ordering media to take down news officially dubbed false is one that would *not* read better in the original German [Flemming Rose, Cato]
  • Idaho defends its ag-gag law against First Amendment challenge before Ninth Circuit [Baylen Linnekin]
  • “The playing field for independent speech has improved, but there are challenges still for small groups that want to influence elections.” [Cato podcast with campaign attorneys Michael G. Adams and Neil Reiff]
  • On the origins of “no-platforming” [Mark Peters, Boston Globe, quotes me]

“Buy your design classic now – it’s about to rocket in price”

At least if you’re in Britain or Europe: “Mid-century design classics, such as Charles Eames chairs, Eileen Gray tables and Arco lamps are set to rocket in price [in Britain and Europe], following EU regulations which came into force this week that extend the copyright on furniture from 25 years to 70 years after the death of a designer.” Low-cost knockoffs of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair, for example, will be banned until 2039, 70 years after his 1969 death. [The Guardian] Alex Tabarrok has some thoughts on why consumers might rightly be seen as getting the short end, and notes this (via Daily Mail): “Companies which publish design books may have to get numerous licences to reproduce photos because designs have come under copyright.”

August 24 roundup

  • Ingenious tactic to get bad review off search engines: arrange and win a pretend lawsuit in some other state [Paul Alan Levy, more: followup]
  • Law professor proposes to give out tax breaks based on race. Constitutional problems with that? [Caron/TaxProf]
  • $2,250 for the legal right to thread existing barrels: presidential order expands definition of “manufacturer” under arms treaty, which leaves some gunsmiths nervous [The Truth About Guns]
  • Political corner: Michael Greve reacts to Jonathan Rauch’s Atlantic article, “How Did Our Politics Go Insane?” [Liberty and Law] And for those following my commentary about the Gary Johnson campaign (see earlier), I’ve got a piece at Cato on his rocky relations with conservatives as well as a letter to the editor at the Baltimore Sun;
  • On Naomi Schaefer Riley’s new book, The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians [Carla Main, City Journal; Chris Edwards]
  • But which way would the causation run? Econometric analysis finds “EU membership is positively associated with economic freedom.” [EPI Center] Will Brexit promote freer outcomes in areas like agricultural subsidy, or simply a return to national protection? [Simon Lester, Cato]