Monday, August 4, 2008

Best Wishes to William Patry

William Patry has announced the end of his Patry Copyright Blog.

For the past four years, William Patry has provided a well-written inside look into the messy world of copyright legislation. In an area where most of us are as much at sea as beginning Hebrew students are with BDB, Patry gave us intelligent landmarks by which to chart our course when trying to understand copyright. Anyone who has interacted with copyright law cannot help but appreciate the reasonableness of his postings even in areas where there are disagreements. His writings have given me hope that people can (and sometimes do) apply common sense to copyright laws.

Sadly enough, however, he cites as one of the main reasons for discontinuing his blog that the current state of copyright law is too depressing. It is hard not to agree with him. He writes, "Copyright law has abandoned its reason for being: to encourage learning and the creation of new works. Instead, its principal functions now are to preserve existing failed business models, to suppress new business models and technologies, and to obtain, if possible, enormous windfall profits from activity that not only causes no harm, but which is beneficial to copyright owners."

Copyright law affects education and especially affects libraries as we gain access to more digital resources. We will need more voices like William Patry's if we are to ensure the availability without prohibitive cost of the resources our students need.

No comments: