Sunday, January 17, 2010

Moral Panics & Copyright

William Patry, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009) is an interesting perspective on intellectual property, examining the murky past decade or so of the debates (or wars) about copyright. Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, Inc. (another reason why the book is interesting), considers how what he sees as a practical government responsibility became the topic of litigation and moral rights. Patry describes how the debates focus on how to preserve old business models that are closed and tightly controlled, resisting innovation. Patry pushes the idea that copyright is supposed to be for the benefit of society not authors or copyright owners: “The business of copyright is not businesses who own copyright, but the public” (p. 123).

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