Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

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Metaphors, moral panics, folk devils, Jack Valenti, Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes, predictable irrationality, and free market fundamentalism are a few of the topics covered in this lively, unflinching examination of the Copyright Wars: the pitched battles over new technology, business models, and most of all, consumers. 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." The way we have come to talk about copyright - metaphoric language demonizing everyone involved - has led to bad business and bad policy decisions. Unless we recognize that the debates over copyright are debates over business models, we will never be able to make the correct business and policy decisions. A centrist and believer is appropriately balanced copyright laws, Patry concludes that calls for strong copyright laws, just like calls for weak copyright laws, miss the point entirely: the only laws we need are effective laws, laws that further the purpose of encouraging the creation of new works and learning. Our current regime, unfortunately, creates too many bad incentives, leading to bad conduct. Just as President Obama has called for re-tooling and re-imagining the auto industry, Patry calls for a remaking of our copyright laws so that they may once again be respected.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 292 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 22.86mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0195385640
  • 9780195385649
  • 443,147

Review quote

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 onlooker Howard Knopf, Counsel, Macera & Jarzyna, LLP Written with an energetic style that is consistently engaging, and with 50 pages of notes which attest to the wide sweep of author interests, the book can be recommended as one of the livliest and most thought-provoking works on the law of copyright David Lewisohn, Entertainment Law Review Patry's text offers a liguistic and philosophical view of copyright over the last 250 years in the USA. For those interested in linguistics, philosophy and Copyright issues in the 21st century, it provides a fascinating read. Stephen A. Bowman, Managing Information For those interested in linguistics, philosophy and Copyright issues in the 21st century, it provides a fascinating read. Stephen A. Bowman, Managing Information

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About William Patry

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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Table of contents

How the Copyright Wars Are Being Fought and Why ; The Role of Metaphors in Understanding ; Metaphors and the Law ; The Mythical Origins of Copyright and Three Favorite Copyright Metaphors ; Property as Social Relations ; Why Classifying Copyright as Property Is Important in the Copyright Wars ; Copyright on Steroids: Before BALCO ; Moral Panics, Folk Devils, and Fear as a Tactical Weapon ; How Innovation Occurs: Creative Destructive and Disruptive Technologies

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