Saturday, August 02, 2008

Patry's last post

William Patry has decided to stop blogging. That is a real shame. His blog has, for the past four years, been one of my first ports of call when difficult copyright issues or cases come round. Where else can you get that depth of experience and analysis freely on tap but the Internet? Mr Patry has done an invaluable public service by making his thoughts so openly available for so long. He's stopping for two reasons - the people who refuse to accept that it is a personal blog and has nothing to do with his employer, Google, and the fact that the current state of copyright law is such a mess.

"my fear that the blog was becoming too negative in tone. I regard myself as a centrist. I believe very much that in proper doses copyright is essential for certain classes of works, especially commercial movies, commercial sound recordings, and commercial books, the core copyright industries. I accept that the level of proper doses will vary from person to person and that my recommended dose may be lower (or higher) than others. But in my view, and that of my cherished brother Sir Hugh Laddie, we are well past the healthy dose stage and into the serious illness stage. Much like the U.S. economy, things are getting worse, not better. Copyright law has abandoned its reason for being: to encourage learning and the creation of new works. Instead, its principal functions now are to preserve existing failed business models, to suppress new business models and technologies, and to obtain, if possible, enormous windfall profits from activity that not only causes no harm, but which is beneficial to copyright owners. Like Humpty-Dumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately."

The public debate on the copyright landscape will be a seriously less enlightened place for the loss of his blog.

Update: There are lots of comments round the blogosphere about the loss of Party's blog. I recommend Pamela Jones's at Groklaw.

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