Patry Copyright Blog

Noted IP practitioner and scholar William Patry started a blog. One thing I love about the blog so far is that he doesn’t write with the careful restraint of many active practitioners. He’s quite willing to talk about how badly courts bungled the law—which I suppose is justified, since he drafted some of the legislation at issue when he was the copyright counsel to the House of Representatives.

My favorite recent bit is from this commentary on the Bootleg Statute, which many—including some courts—have criticized as being unconstitutional under the Copyright Clause:

In 1994, I had been practicing copyright law for 13 years. I was well aware of the limited Times restriction. Everyone involved was aware of it. Do critics think that in making the bootleg right perpetual we meant to legislate under the Copyright Clause but just had a memory lapse, or that we said, “Hell, let’s draft an unconsitutional provision; why not, its bound to be fun?” The answer is, no, we didn’t draft a copyright or copyright-like provision at all. We drafted a sui generis right under the Commerce Clause. (For those who are wondering, Congress is not in the habit of saying in a statute, “hey this is the power we are legislating under.” See also Woods v. Taylor, 333 U.S. 138 (1948)).

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