Saturday, August 02, 2008

RIP: Patry Copyright Blog

One of my favorite, daily, MUST-READ blogs, The Patry Copyright Blog, is dead.

This literate, calm, well-reasoned blog did more for actually understanding copyright than anything else on the web.

Patry started the blog when he was in private practice with a firm where my former patent lawyer worked.

But when Patry left private practice to join Google, many readers were incapable of accepting that this was HIS pesonal opinion rather than Google's. That was a hassle.

His other reason for ceasing the blog is the depressing state of copyright, having been distorted and perverted into an anti-competitive tool for corporate dinosaurs. Here's what he has to say about that.

The Current State of Copyright Law is too depressing

This leads me to my final reason for closing the blog which is independent of the first reason: 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.

If you give a damn about copyright, you should read the whole post. And mourn not only the passing of Patry's blog, but his reasons for putting it to sleep.

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