Pro IP William Patry Explains How Pro IP Bill Is Very Anti IP

from the up-is-down,-black-is-white dept

Last week, we wrote about just how awful Congress' proposed "PRO IP" law was, suggesting that it would help to kill off creative industries by giving excessive power to enforce obsolete business models. Of course, I'm somewhat skeptical about all intellectual property laws, as there's enough evidence out there that they're not needed in most cases, and only serve to distort markets in unnecessary ways (and there's very little evidence that they actually serve their purpose of creating incentives for the creation of new content). Thus, you would expect me to have problems with a bill that would drastically strengthen copyright, since that's clearly going in the wrong direction in my book. However, to get another opinion on the bill, why not listen to William Patry, a man who is clearly in favor of intellectual property laws, having been a copyright lawyer for 25 years, including representing copyright holders and various trade associations, as well as working in the US Copyright Office. He has written up a great piece explaining why the "PRO IP" bill is very "anti-IP" when you understand the details:
"The question is not whether copyright is a good thing: properly calibrated copyright is very good, indeed essential for certain classes of works. Sir Hugh and I are both pro-IP in this most important of senses. But an excessive amount of something that is beneficial in measured doses can become fatal in overdoses, and copyright is already at fatal strength. Yet, when they are not alienating their customers, copyright industries spend the rest of their time in efforts to obtain new, powerful, undeserved, and unnecessary remedies. Content owners act as if obtaining more and more and more will save them: it won’t, quite the reverse: it only continues an unfortunate trend of making copyright law and content owners among the most despised elements in society. While proponents of such efforts describe themselves as being pro-IP, they have the opposite effect by bringing disrespect on the entire system. I call that being anti-IP, not pro-IP."
And that's somewhat near the beginning of the piece. It's worth reading the whole thing.

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  • identicon
    DCX2, 14 Dec 2007 @ 4:41am


    The tone is confusing. Your language makes it seem as if you would disagree with what he is saying, however he appears to agree with your basic premise that copyright law is too strong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    happymellon, 14 Dec 2007 @ 5:41am

    I thought the tone was about right. Here are two people at two ends of the IP spectrum, who are both agreeing that this bill is a bad idea.
    To me it sounded like Mike is just surprised since most "Pro IP" pundits see anything that strengthens IP law as good. But here is one that is seeing it may be excessive.

    The tide may be starting to change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 14 Dec 2007 @ 5:57am

    I for one

    am shocked at the Pro-IP William Patry's statements.
    I am definitely emailing myself the link to read his entire article while at home later.
    Sounds like it is worth the read for sure.

    And from what I read there from the excerpt from his article. I agree with him (although more aligned with Mike overall for the topic, the ideas converge in this case).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 14 Dec 2007 @ 6:49am

    it's like celine's law

    celine's first law: national security is the chief cause of national insecurity.

    it means that a nations preoccupation with it's own security creates paranoia and mistrust among it's citizens and it's government that is as threatening to the nation as the nation's actual enemies, while not actually doing anything to deal with the threat from the nation's enemies.

    therefore... intellectual property needs be protected against the aggressive enforcement of intellectual property protection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 14 Dec 2007 @ 7:17am

    case in point

    one of the comments on patry's post said this:

    No one in China, the leading source of infringing content world-wide, will care one bit about any change in U.S. copyright law. It's impact with respect to seizures can have an impact only on property within the jurisdiction of the court and any half-baked infringer from China or elsewhere knows enough to keep his or her valuables out of this country. It's a huge waste of effort to push legislation like this.

    so, while the content industry chases after private citizens, the "real enemy" (china, according to the poster) continues with no restrictions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Katie, 14 Dec 2007 @ 7:38am

    Russia, too

    Russia, too is known for major copyright infringement (as per our laws), as is, for example, Sweden, where sites like The Pirate Bay operate legally.

    Frankly, there just isn't a problem here, in the States. People have gotten absolutely rabid about IP laws. The way things are currently headed, which cannot possibly continue, a few years would see us completely unable to purchase entertainment media of any sort lest we then go on to copy it and distribute it. Much better that creativity just be stifled entirely, yes?


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DCX2, 14 Dec 2007 @ 8:13am

    Patry works for Google

    According to ars, Patry is a lawyer for Google. I think this is an interesting tidbit of information to share...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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