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Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195385649
ISBN-10: 0195385640
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A thought-provoking and highly readable book by one of America's top copyright scholars. Anyone interested in modern copyright debates needs to read it."
-Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

"Patry's insight into copyright law itself has long been established, but with this book he takes us deep into how the debate surrounding copyright law has been twisted and distorted. This is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the real issues in the copyright debate, both from the business-model and policy perspectives."
-Mike Masnick, Founder and CEO, Floor64

"Patry makes real policy prescriptions and emphasizes hard economic data, combined with his characteristic morality, innovation, and learning. This is an important book."
-Carl Malamud, Founder, Public.Resource.Org

"Patry's argument for reforming copyright law to promote modern day innovation is both engaging and meticulously supported by history and facts - an essential read for copyright practitioners and policymakers alike."
-R. David Donoghue, Partner, Holland & Knight

"A bold and brilliant analysis of key cultural, business, economic, philosophical, and legal issues. Do we need 'creative destruction'? A must for the copyright community and its onlookers."
-Howard Knopf, Counsel, Macera & Jarzyna, LLP

"Few people are as qualified to write a book about the copyright wars as William Patry...And Patry has written a very fine book indeed. Reading Moral Panics is like watching a master brick layer gracefully and effortlessly build a solid wall: no wasted motion, no sweat, no missteps. Patry knows this subject better than anyone and can really explain it. This is the part of the debate that usually has me frothing at the chops, but Patry remains admirably calm as he carries this off, explaining in terms that anyone can understand the terrible violence that this kind of monopoly control does to our discourse, the arts, and competition and innovation."
-http://www.boingboing.net/2009/09/14/patrys-moral-panics.html>

"The short version is 'it's great.'
- Mike Masnic-TechDirt's

"The tone is, as Patry hoped, civil and the two copyright lawyers' thoughts are well worth reading for anyone with an interest in the state of copyright law."
-Robert J. Ambrogi Legal Blog Watch

"William Patry has recently written a fascinating book entitled Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars which should be illuminating reading for every photographer interested in copyright in the digital age. In summary, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars gives a good introduction to understanding the background and context of energetic discussions of copyright in this age. We all as photographers, along with all participants in the digital copyright wars would do well to heed the advice of the author, tone down the rhetoric, and work towards innovative solutions."
-David Sanger's Blog-White House Correspondent for the New York Times


About the Author


William Patry is Senior Copyright Counsel at Google Inc. He previously served as copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, a Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights, a law professor, and in the private practice of law. He is the most prolific scholar of copyright in history, including being the author of an eight-volume treatise and a separate treatise on the fair use doctrine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195385640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195385649
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Patry on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thanks for the comments. The last (second) review noted that I don't offer a prescription out of the current situation. That was deliberate: I wanted this book to be about how we talk about copyright and the influence that plays in our thinking. Had I wrote a prescriptive book, that's all people would have focused on, I feared. But, since in the book I frequently advocate giving consumers what they want rather than what businesses want to give to them, I am heeding my own advice. I am writing a sequel, which is entirely prescriptive, called "How to Fix Copyright." It will be published by Oxford University Press too and will come out I imagine at the beginning of 2011. so please read and judge Moral Panics for what it set out to do.
P.S. I had to rate the book to post these remarks, and was not being presumptuous. I obviously would have preferred to post without rating myself.
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I've read other policy explorations by copyright experts -- Copyrights and Copy Wrongs, Copyright's Paradox, Copyright's Highway,The Future of Ideas, and Digital Copyright -- and Patry's book is distinguishable on a few levels. Most importantly, it's better written. Patry's use of language and metaphors (he discusses the distinction between metaphor and simile) is a few steps ahead of his colleagues and makes his thesis more palatable and an enjoyable read. As for Patry's brain, that also may be a few steps ahead of his colleagues. Not only is he able to accurately report on the shipwreck of copyright law (and to prescribe a reasonable approach for towing and repairing it) but he presents this approach in a simple, persuasive style. Finally, Patry's 'big picture' overview -- as painful as it may be for many of us copyright owners -- is the perspective of someone with practical, and not merely academic experience. I'm not sure if the appeal of this book extends beyond copyright nerds, but it should.
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Full disclosure: I work, and have for years, for content creators. I therefore believe that content creators should have the right, among other things, to place conditions upon the uses made of their creations. I believe this because this is their bargain: I will make things if you will let me choose how they will be used. Because I believe this, I'm good at my job of protecting content creators, and I have a commercial interest in preserving the law as it stands. I'll try to review objectively, but you should know that before I start because it's going to be a bias.

Patry works on the other side: for a company that has made its money by taking and aggregating content made by other people. It is also a company that has found a way to protect its IP through a monopoly: the monopoly in this case just happens to be a patent and not a copyright. Patry would have you believe that, although this is his background, it doesn't affect his conclusions. If that were true, he shouldn't have his job, because he would be a hypocrite in his daily life. I don't think he's a hypocrite: I think he really believes what he's saying and reasonable minds can certainly believe this too. You just need to keep in mind as you read that he has a commercial interest in having the law end up the way he advocates in this book.

Patry's analysis of the law and how it has developed is excellent. He has obviously done his homework and knows the historical development of copyright. These sections will provide you with an outstanding overview of the literature and the history, and will save you literally thousands of pages of reading to get you to the same place.
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I like the writing and argueents of this book that are not really limited to IP or copyrights law!! its really refreshing, novel and powerfull. it covers a wide range of attitudes toward IP, ethics and societial attitude and need toward IP Law. with an eagle eye on ecoomical aspect of it. truely a master piece.
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As I study "intellectual" "property" "rights" with a view to writing something sometime, I am obliged to read the best works on the topic. I keep coming across references to a work by one William Patry, a copyright lawyer. Now note that designation, not "intellectual" "property" "rights" lawyer, or patent lawyer (although he is one), merely "copyright lawyer."

In fact, he bills himself (and no doubt his clients) as the "most prolific scholar of copyright in history." He also defines himself as a centrist on the topic of copyrights. In his book he is given to such citations as "the greatest speech ever given on copyrights". Which, of course, the most prolific scholar would be in a position to assess the greatest speech, wouldn't he? Well, talk about an opportunity to get in some serious lawyer-bashing. This guy is leaves himself wide open.

And since he is pro-copyright, he is necessarily to me an implacable enemy. I should make clear, as a content-creator, I am against all copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc. It is the only rational position for a creative person to take.

Now, having said that, the book is probably the best thing written on copyrights, ever. He is probably the most prolific scholar of copyright in history. The thing is a stunning tour de force. It's a mere 200 pages of content, and I am only through page 84, but I must pause and report.

Only at page 84 and he has destroyed all arguments for "intellectual" "property" "rights". And I mean he catalogs each one that is used today, traces the history of the argument, and destroys them. All of them.

He examines the pro-IPR data regarding the losses incurred by industry.
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