William Patry

Counsel, Google, Inc.

Law Is Not a Business Solution
24 minutes, 11.1mb, recorded 2010-02-23
William Patry

Controversy over the use of copyright law has been at the center of the whole digital revolution and William Patry, who has been working in this field for 25 years has a number of observations on the essence of this controversy. Using the law to solve business problems makes for a loss of respect for the legal system as regulation has become a shield to protect the status quo from competition.

Patry explores the phenomenom of regulatory capitalism, where incumbents with the resources and an understanding of how to play the game, simply want to outlaw their competitors and criminalize their behavior. However, he says you can't sue consumers into buying from you and copyright laws don't create economic value.

Patry worries the United States is losing its collective purpose, its fire and determination to succeed as copyright laws become a tool to deceive ourselves into believing we can avoid stagnation and eliminate the natural product cycle rather than innovating and putting consumers first. The fear of the marketplace, as a dynamic process, pushes copyright development rather than managerial innovation.

William Patry currently serves as senior copyright counsel to Google Inc., where he is involved in diverse cutting edge issues. Patry has practiced copyright law for 25 years, including 12 years in private practice. He has been cited numerous times in landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Before joining Google, Patry served as professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, copyright counsel to the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives, policy planning advisor to the Register of Copyrights, and as an attorney in private practice.

Patry is the author of the treatises Patry on Copyright (Thomson West 2009 ed.) and Patry on Fair Use (Thomson West 2009 ed.), as well as numerous law review articles. He served as editor or editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA for over ten years. His most recent book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, was published by Oxford University Press in 2009.

Patry studied at San Francisco State University where he obtained a BA in 1974 and an MA in 1976. He received a JD in 1980 from the University of Houston. He was admitted to the Bar in Texas in 1981, the District of Columbia in 2000, and New York in 2001.


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