In Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, William Patry lays bare how we got to where we are: a bloated, punitive legal regime that has strayed far from its modest, but important roots. Patry demonstrates how copyright is a utilitarian government program--not a property or moral right. As a government program, copyright must be regulated and held accountable to ensure it is serving its public purpose. Just as Wall Street must serve Main Street, neither can copyright be left to a Reaganite "magic of the market."I'm sure I will find plenty to disagree with in Patry's book. (For one, the notion of copyright as a form of property has deep historical and theoretical roots.) But there is no denying that the man knows his copyright law: Patry helped draft sections of it while counsel to the House Judiciary Committee; served as a Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights, as a law professor, and as a partner at a major law firm; and is the author of a major copyright treatise. Patry now serves as Chief Copyright Counsel at Google, though he has made clear that Moral Panics is a personal project.
And, much to the delight of those of us who lamented the passing of Patry's previous blog, with the launch of the book comes a brand new blog.
I look forward to reading the book, and the blog, and will report back once I've finished.