Moral Panics and the Copyright WarsWilliam PatryWhat does it mean to be caught in a “copyright war”? If such a culture war is what we have, when and how might it end? One man up to the charge of answering these weighty questions is William Patry, considered the most prolific scholar of copyright in U.S. history. In an interview with Chris Kenneally during a break at OnCopyright2010, he revealed his new book’s original title and why “moral panic” describes the current situation.

“What’s happened in debates over copyright is that this concept of moral panics have been employed and coupled with metaphoric language,” Patry explained. “This is a conflict between new technologies and existing business models. In the past, we had the leisure to play these things out.”

William Patry is author of an eight-volume treatise on U.S. copyright law entitled Patry on Copyright and a separate treatise on the fair use doctrine. He is currently Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, Inc.; he previously served as copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary; as a Policy Planning Adviser to the Register of Copyrights; a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Georgetown University; and in private practice.

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