Wednesday, August 6, 2008
William Patry, who offered informed and insightful discourse for a number of years on his copyright blog, has closed it down, and the archives also seem to have disappeared. In his final post, Mr. Patry explains why. First, too many people are confusing his personal views with his position as Senior Copyright Counsel as Google. Although he has taken great pains to differentiate the two, he feels he cannot continue to fight those who out of laziness or perversity muddy the waters. Mr. Patry also says, "On top of this there are the crazies, whom it is impossible to reason with, who do not have a life of their own and so insist on ruining the lives of others, and preferably as many as possible....In the end, I concluded that it is no longer possible for me to have a blog that will be respected for what it is, a personal blog. I don't draw any grand conclusions from this and hope others don't either. The decision was 100% mine. No one at Google ever asked, suggested, or hinted that I should end the blog. To the contrary, in keeping with Google's deep commitment to free speech, the company encourages blogs like mine, and has stood completely behind me."
Further, he seems to be tired of writing about copyright law, at least in this format. "It is profoundly depressing, after 26 years full-time in a field I love, to be a constant voice of dissent. I have tried various ways to leaven this state of affairs with positive postings, much like television news shows that experiment with "happy features." I have blogged about great articles others have written, or highlighted scholars who have not gotten the attention they deserve; I tried to find cases, even inconsequential ones, that I can fawn over. But after awhile, this wore thin, because the most important stories are too often ones that involve initiatives that are, in my opinion, seriously harmful to the public interest. I cannot continue to be so negative, so often. Being so negative, while deserved on the merits, gives a distorted perspective of my centrist views, and is emotionally a downer."
A shame. Read his last post here. I hope he uses some of that free time to develop his great ideas further into a copyright book.