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Copyright Law

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

About copyright discourse covered by the book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, published by Oxford University Press.
By William Patry, Esq

Post Frequency: 0.2/day

Last Entry: January 14, 2010 at 11:17:00

Recent Entries: 25

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MusicNet, Pressplay and Lost Opportunities

Posted on January 14, 2010
On pages 8-9 of Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars I discuss the aftermath of the shutdown of Napster in 2001. This period is interesting because it presented the music industry with something of a crossroads: Napster had demonstrated there was a huge potential market for digital distribution of singles...

Why I Cancelled My Netflix Subscription

Posted on January 11, 2010
There was a time when Netflix had a great business model: instead of having to get in your car, schlep to the nearest video rental store, pay late fees, and compete with others for the latest blockbuster movie (because, as the name Blockbuster Video implied, there wasn't a lot of anything else), you could, from the comfort of your home order movies to be mailed to your house...

IP Watch Video Interview

Posted on December 18, 2009
When I was in Geneva two weeks ago, I gave a 16 minute video interview to Intellectual Property Watch, a Geneva-based publication. Here is the link. Other than the very beginning, where it looks like I am posing for a death mask, the interview is, I think, a good summary of what I was trying to accomplish in writing the book, and it contains analysis of how one metaphor ("a rising tide lifts all boats") works.

Dan Glickman's Moral Panic

Posted on December 16, 2009
When I worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, one of my favorite Congressmen was Dan Glickman, of Kansas. (Another was Howard Berman). Mr. Glickman, along with 34 other Democrats, was defeated in the Republican 1994 electoral rout, and the following year he became President Clinton's Secretary of Agriculture, where he served with great distinction...

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Bravo United States

Posted on December 15, 2009
Today, at the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva, various statements were introduced by governments on a proposed treaty for the visually impaired. In the interest of full disclosure, my employer recently submitted to the U...

Chastity Belts and Copyright

Posted on November 08, 2009
In my last posting I discussed reviews of the Moral Panics book, and my disappointment with a too-common failure to do much more than a USA Today- type superficial nuggets approach. I thought it might help to give an example. I have chosen the most recent review, by Nate Anderson at Ars Technica since neither Nate nor Ars Technica can be considered to opposed to the book?s project, and since I am a big fan of the blog, which has consistently done excellent work...

My next book

Posted on November 03, 2009
There is nothing worse than having to take your own advice. The advice in question is giving consumers what they want. There has been a wide variety in the reviews of Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, usually but not always along the fault lines in the debates over copyright...

Denying DVD consumers what they want

Posted on October 23, 2009
An article in the LA Times discusses initiatives by some studios to perpetuate in the DVD rental market the classic tiered release schedule for movies. Apparently, too many consumers want to rent DVDs, rather than buy them immediately upon release. The solution floated to take care of this frustrating expression of consumer demand is to get the rental stores, including Netflix to delay rentals for a few weeks, making them available for purchase only during this period...

Volokh Conspiracy Posts

Posted on October 05, 2009
I am guest posting on the Volokh Conspiracy this week, www.volokh.com

Why I made Tom Sydnor?s enemies list

Posted on October 03, 2009
Yesterday, Tom Sydnor posted on the Progress and Freedom Foundation?s blog a ?review? of my book. I use review in quotes because the piece is not a review of the book at all, but merely the latest in a series of ad hominem attacks by him on me and anyone else who calls for effective, evidence-based copyright laws...

We Are Copyright Alliance, Hear Us Roar

Posted on September 29, 2009
In my prior blog I would occasionally write about the buffoonery of the Copyright Alliance, a laughably, tragically inept DC front organization for large corporate copyright owners portraying itself as the voice of individual artists. You know, the individual performing artists that the RIAA sought to deprive of their termination of transfer rights when the RIAA snuck in, in the dead of the night with no hearing, no bill, or no notice, legislation to convert them into employees for hire...

The Maccabees and Copyright

Posted on September 14, 2009
Ben started his last post (?Greeks and Ginsburg) with this: ?I think we all veer between cynicism and naïvité when reading Supreme Court opinions. I think your reading of Justice Ginsburg's opinion in Eldred suffers from more cynicism than warranted ?...

Ben: Greeks and Ginsburg

Posted on September 14, 2009
I think we all veer between cynicism and naïvité when reading Supreme Court opinions. I think your reading of Justice Ginsburg's opinion in Eldred suffers from more cynicism than warranted when you write, "The Supreme Court?s stated deference to Congress seems to me entirely window-dressing...

Is There Any Copyright Clause Constitutional Limit on Congress?

Posted on September 12, 2009
I made this statement in a prior post:"The Constitution is quite clear that Congress can only grant copyright to promote the progress of science, and thus this ?burden? exists from the inception of the rights, and follows those rights for the duration of the copyright...

Ben on Promoting the Progress of Science and Property

Posted on September 11, 2009
Bill, the statement in your most recent post raised an issue that's long intrigued me:"The Constitution is quite clear that Congress can only grant copyright to promote the progress of science, and thus this ?burden? exists from the inception of the rights, and follows those rights for the duration of the copyright...

Property and Property Rights

Posted on September 07, 2009
In prior posts, I have spoken too loosely about property rights, when in some instances I was really talking about property. I want to correct this semantic sloppiness and distinguish between the two different concepts as I see them. Professor Steven Munzer has distinguished the two as follows:"The idea of property rights is narrower than that of property...

Bill: It's the "Why" Not the "If"

Posted on August 26, 2009
Ben, I never claimed the debates over copyright as property were recent; to the contrary, that's why I quoted Birrell's lecture from 1898. I could just as easily gone back to the Battle of the Booksellers in the 18th century which took place when the term of protection for pre-existing works granted under the Statute of Anne expired, and booksellers argued that copyright, as an alleged natural right, was perpetual...

Ben: Its Deja Vu all over again

Posted on August 26, 2009
I think we have pretty well flushed out our respective positions on copyright as property. I was noodling over what to say next when I came across this recent draft of a forthcoming article by Professor Justin Hughes of Yeshiva University, titled Notes on the Origin of Intellectual Property: Revised Conclusions and New Sources...

The Progress of Science and Profit

Posted on August 23, 2009
Ben?s reply to my Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand post cries foul, asserting I had associated him and his colleagues with the global economic collapse. Not true: I wasn?t lumping anyone in with anyone. I was merely pointing out that Ben?s theory of ?what?s good for GM is good for the country? has been discredited by the global economic collapse and by Keynes right before the Great Depression...

Ben and the Not Invisible Hand

Posted on August 23, 2009
Here is Ben's reply to my "Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand" post:Talk about "wow"! I cite Adam Smith in defense of the profit motive in copyright, and I (and copyright owners) get lumped in with those who espouse an "obviously discredited theory" that recently led us to the brink of global economic collapse: Alan Greenspan, "bankers, hedge fund owners, AIG, and the real estate industry...

Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand of Copyright

Posted on August 22, 2009
Ben?s last post was manna from heaven (Baruch Hashem). It?s one thing for me to make statements in a book about how the copyright industries view things, and another for those very views to be starkly expressed by the industries themselves; that is what Ben did in his last post, so I am grateful...

Ben Rejoins on Property-Talk

Posted on August 22, 2009
Bill --You want to redirect the conversation to the question "why do copyright owners insist on describing copyright as a property right, rather than say as a regulatory privilege or a tort?" Fair enough. If I took a bit more time for research, I could probably come up with a very sophisticated answer, digging up 18th Century texts to support my position...

More on the Why of Property

Posted on August 20, 2009
Ben, I happily concede you are better at formulating straw men than I. You say that I "formulate attacks that allegedly 'beat[] in the heart of every copyright industry lawyer and executive,'" and then give a quote from my post that has nothing to with what I was talking with my "beating in the heart" statement...

Ben on the Why of Property

Posted on August 19, 2009
Your knowledge of the history of copyright far exceeds mine. But I think you build up "property" into a bit of a straw man, just so you can thwack it down. You mock the alleged pretense of the "property" metaphor:One need not inquire further: to be a copyright owner is to have been vested with an ancient pedigree; one is a property owner and that by itself is all the justification that is needed...

The Why of Property-Talk in the Copyright Wars

Posted on August 18, 2009
There have been a number of efforts to trace the origins of the terms ?property? in connection with copyright, as well as ?intellectual property.? These efforts provide a ready source of law review articles for those in the business of academia, and some of the articles are of some interest...

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