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November 2, 2009

Metaphors, moral panics, folk devils, predictable irrationality, and free market fundamentalism are just some of the topics William Patry will be discussing, along with his new book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, at a luncheon event at NYLS.

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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. A centrist and believer in 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.

Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars by William Patry