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in Filmmaking
on Aug 11, 2008

William Patry, an attorney and author specializing in intellectual property, has been keepin a blog that covers copyright issues, but, last week, he decided to shut it down. He cited two reasons. First, since transitioning to a position as Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, he’s had a hard time expressing in the blog his own personal views without them being attributed elsewhere to him in his official capacity at the search giant.

But the other reason is that he is depressed.

From his post:

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.

It is profoundly depressing, after 26 years full-time in a field I love, to be a constant voice of dissent.

Patry initially decided to take down prior blog posts, but after reader outcry he is putting them back up, so you can go back and read the progression of thoughts that took him to this place.

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