Patterico's Pontifications


An Expert Copyright Lawyer Tells It Like It Is

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Civil Liberties — Justin Levine @ 10:14 pm

[posted by Justin Levine – and definitely not Patterico]

William Patry hangs it up (his blog that is, not his practice of law).

A key reason (in his own words) –

The Current State of Copyright Law is too depressing

This leads me to my final reason for closing the blog which is independent of the first reason: my fear that the blog was becoming too negative in tone. I regard myself as a centrist. I believe very much that in proper doses copyright is essential for certain classes of works, especially commercial movies, commercial sound recordings, and commercial books, the core copyright industries. I accept that the level of proper doses will vary from person to person and that my recommended dose may be lower (or higher) than others. But in my view, and that of my cherished brother Sir Hugh Laddie, we are well past the healthy dose stage and into the serious illness stage. Much like the U.S. economy, things are getting worse, not better. 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. Like HumptyDumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately.

It is profoundly depressing, after 26 years full-time in a field I love, to be a constant voice of dissent.

Read the whole thing.

More analysis of the annoucement over at (where I also guest blog at on occasion).

As a former copyright counsel to the House of Representatives, and participant in the 1988 Berne Convention, Patry is not etirely blameless here in terms of how the current state of the law developed. But with that said, there is no disputing the profound truths that he has now come to admit and realize.  I don’t know if his current views are merely a cynical product of lawyerly convenience stemming from his employment with Google, or if he had a genuine epiphany that happened to coincide with his relationwhip with Google. The passion of his post leads me to suspect that latter. Regardless, its good to hear him speak out the way his now so doing.

He is especially correct when he observes, “Like HumptyDumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately.” That is why I have reluctantly rejected the centrism that Patry still desperately tries to embrace in this debate. I actually sympathize with it to an extent, but the world copyright cartel has metastasized in such a way that it makes reasonable compromise all but impossible.

I suppose that the participants of the Boston Tea Party were law breakers whose actions were condemned in many quarters at the time. I see the file-sharing community in the same light and hope they can help lay the groundwork for a much needed revolution.

Mr. Patry, the revolution to secure the freedom of information needs more Generals. I hope that your views can continue to evolve in such a way that you will someday be willing to enlist.  

– Justin Levine

Obama One

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

CBS News “From the Road” blog describes the recent retrofit of the front section of Obama’s plane to include four luxurious leather recliners and a matching booth. Here was one reporter’s reaction:

“Typically the candidate’s cabin is like business class — roomier and less chaotic than the staff and press areas, but still short of the accoutrements of a pro team’s charter,” says Politico’s Mike Allen, a frequent campaign flier.

After looking at a few photos of Obama’s cabin, Allen quipped, “Air Force One may seem a tad claustrophobic.”

There are photos at the link, including candidate Obama’s chair that has an imprint not shown on the other chairs:

The Obama logo and Obama ’08.
Underneath is the word President.

But, hey, there’s no seal … yet.


Skip Caray (1939-2008)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 8:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Harry Christopher “Skip” Caray, Jr., broadcaster and long-time voice of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, died today at age 68 in Atlanta. He was the son of famed Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray and the father of Chip Caray, who rejoined the Braves’ broadcasting lineup in 2005.

The Carays – father and son – were invaluable additions to their teams. Many fans were familiar with Harry but my favorite was always Skip. When I was in law school, the only all-night TV stations in my area were a local station that carried The PTL Club with Jim and Tammy Faye Baker and Superstation WTBS of Atlanta. (WTBS began broadcasting via satellite in 1976.) I always welcomed the arrival of baseball season, and listening to Skip Caray broadcast the Braves games made me a fan for life.

Last September, Caray returned to announce Braves baseball as he was recovering from congestive heart failure. The Journal-Constitution (link below) notes Caray suffered from several other serious health problems.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s tribute to Caray is worth reading and it includes examples of his wry humor:

“And he made the call in the late innings of a lousy game in the lost season of 1979: “You have our permission to turn off the TV and go to bed now … as long as you promise to patronize our sponsors.”
Caray swore off alcohol as he became concerned about his health in 2000. But seven years later, amidst yet another meltdown by the Braves bullpen, he said: “The bases are loaded again, and I wish I was, too.”

It won’t be Braves baseball without Skip Caray. My condolences to his family.


What Will Hillary Supporters Do?

Filed under: 2008 Election,War — DRJ @ 6:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Almost two months ago on June 8, Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign for the Democratic nomination and endorsed Barack Obama. I thought then that her supporters, although disappointed, would eventually accept Obama as the Democratic nominee. Last week when Obama named Hillary as the keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention, I thought it gave Hillary and her supporters the opportunity to accept Obama’s nomination with grace.

Now that I’ve read this Politico article, I’m not so sure:

“Geraldine Ferraro, a Clinton supporter who in 1984 became the first woman on a major party presidential ticket, said Obama should be “gracious” enough to offer Clinton the vice presidency, considering how narrow the race was.

Marcia Pappas, who heads the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women, believes that Clinton supporters “would be outraged to know she was not given that right of first refusal.”

A mid-July Quinnipiac poll said 1-in-5 Clinton voters would not vote for Obama, a number that is only slightly lower than when Hillary suspended her campaign over a month before.

Hillary Clinton’s keynote address at the Democratic Convention will be given a week after the 88th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified August 18, 1920) that gave women the right to vote. Some Hillary supporters may not appreciate the symbolism:

“I’m sorry to say this but I do think [the Democratic divide] is sort of significant,” Hoff said [Joan Hoff, an historian at Montana State University]. “It could have an impact. It’s not that you need a lot of them,” meaning Clinton supporters who will sit out the general or vote for McCain. “You just need enough of them in key places.”

Hoff compared the current dynamic to the Republicans in 1976, when Ronald Reagan’s supporters never fully rallied to Gerald Ford, and the Democrats in 1980, when Edward M. Kennedy’s supporters never fully warmed to Jimmy Carter.”

I think I smell popcorn.


Obama: I Won so Let’s Count MI and FL

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now that the primaries are over and Obama is the presumptive nominee, he wants the Michigan and Florida delegations to have full voting rights in the interests of “party unity” … a/k/a party unity for him.

MyDD posts his letter to the DNC Credentials’ Committee here.


Investigating the Anthrax Case

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 2:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

By now, most of us have read about the recent suicide of Bruce Ivins, a government scientist who was reportedly about to be indicted on murder charges in connection with the 2001 anthrax letters. Letters containing anthrax were mailed to the news media and government leaders, caused 5 deaths, sickened 17, and terrorized Americans in the wake of 9/11.

An article in today’s Washington Post reports new details about how the FBI linked Ivins to the anthrax:

“Although the Army biological weapons lab where Ivins worked _ Ft. Detrick in Frederick, Md. _ had long been on the FBI’s radar, scientists were unable to pinpoint the specific strain used in the attacks until recently.

The FBI recruited top genome researchers from across the country and gave them “no rules, so we could do the best and most compelling approaches,” said the scientist. At least $10 million was spent on the case, in what the scientist called “clearly the most expensive case FBI’s ever undertaken. And the most scientifically compelling case.”

The new genome technology used to track down Ivins was either not available or too expensive to use often until about three years ago.”

Researchers were able to isolate differences in the Ames strain used at Ft. Dietrick and trace it to Ivins’ research. Such genome advances could be valuable in the legal and medical fields.

Another Washington Post article addresses the FBI investigation and how it impacted the scientists at Ft. Dietrick. Some scientists express skepticism about Ivins’ guilt, especially in light of what happened to their former colleague Stephen Hatfill.

EDIT: I forgot to include this information in my post. The AP reports that Bruce Ivins had been under psychiatric care, both recently and perhaps for some time. The report includes these disquieting statements by his therapist Jean Duley at a July 24 court hearing in which Duley was granted a protective order from Ivins:

“As far back as the year 2000, the respondent [Ivins] has actually attempted to murder several other people, either through poisoning. He is a revenge killer. When he feels that he’s been slighted or has had – especially toward women – he plots and actually tries to carry out revenge killings,” Duley said.

She added that Ivins “has been forensically diagnosed by several top psychiatrists as a sociopathic, homicidal killer. I have that in evidence. And through my working with him, I also believe that to be very true.”

It’s hard to believe Ivins was allowed to work at Ft. Dietrick, let alone research and handle dangerous biologicals. As tragic as the anthrax letter attacks were, it sounds like they could have been much worse.


The Comeback Kid Starts Over (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 12:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former President Bill Clinton made his first extended public appearance in a whirlwind trip to several African nations to review progress of health initiatives sponsored by his foundation. This Washington Post article described the trip as the beginning of the “rehabilitation” of Bill Clinton after the divisiveness of the Democratic primary.

Clinton was accompanied by daughter Chelsea, Terry McAuliffe, Governor and Mrs. Tom Vilsack, aides, press, and a documentary film crew – the latter of which may be designed to help Clinton reestablish himself as Al Gore did after the 2000 Presidential election.

Describing himself as eager and happy to get back to international foundation work, Clinton declined to discuss his role supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and had little to say about Obama:

“Clinton volunteered very little praise of Obama, beyond describing him as “smart” and “a good politician” when asked about him toward the end of the interview. He did, however, muse at length about the role that race could play in the general election — the issue that some of his former black allies angrily accused him of introducing in the Democratic primaries — as a factor, if not a decisive one.”

On June 30, the Huffington Post quoted Terry McAuliffe as saying Bill Clinton didn’t hold a grudge against Barack Obama and that they planned to meet in early July. Obama and Bill Clinton connected the next day via telephone, after which Obama said “I absolutely want Bill Clinton campaigning for me.”

But in a June 24, 2008, blog post, just one week before Bill Clinton and Obama talked, Marc Ambinder convincingly explained why Bill Clinton would continue to hold a grudge against Barack Obama:

“[T]he former president remains “miffed” for two reasons. One is that he feels that Obama’s candidacy was essentially an anti-Clinton candidacy; that Obama ran against Clinton’s presidential record at times, implying that it was timeworn, divisive, and damaging to the party while adopting policy positions that seemed to flow directly from the Clinton oeuvre. Why should Clinton embrace a guy who spent the past twelve months bashing him and his accomplishments?

Two: Clinton is convinced that the Obama campaign went out of its way to portray the former president as a racist. Clinton wants a private meeting with Obama to sort these things out; he has reconciled himself to the reality of Obama’s nomination and does not want to sit on the sidelines.”

I think that’s a good analysis of what Bill Clinton probably felt and still feels about Barack Obama, and I’m not sure it can be repaired in one telephone call. Two months later, Clinton’s statements in Africa suggest he’s still lukewarm on the subject of Barack Obama.

Does it matter?

I think it does. If Barack Obama wants to portray himself as someone who can unite people and bridge divides, he needs Clinton supporters. It’s hard to sustain the image of a uniter if you’ve fractured your own Party. I think Obama repaired the rift with Hillary and possibly with Bill, but his continued emphasis on race will reopen and aggravate old wounds.

In addition, Bill Clinton could help Obama with blue-collar and rural voters, many of whom consider Bill to be someone who cares about jobs and the economy. It doesn’t look like Bill Clinton is willing to put in that kind of effort at this point but it’s too soon to tell.

Finally, I doubt either Clinton wants Obama to win in November so the question is: How far will the Clintons go to see Obama lose?

UPDATE 8/3/2008: ABC News has posted a video interview in which Bill Clinton insists he’s “not a racist” and was described as “testy” over his wife’s loss.


Chuck Philips Knew Facts Undercutting Page One Story of Innocence and Failed to Report Them

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 9:27 am

Here is Thursday’s testimony from Waymond Anderson, who on Wednesday accused Chuck Philips of suborning perjury and smuggling threats for Suge Knight. (Full disclosure: my boss prosecuted Anderson. I have not spoken with her about this.)

From my Friday post, you will remember that Chuck Philips wrote a Page One article touting Anderson’s innocence of the murder, and later told an interviewer that he believed Anderson was innocent. Philips claimed that evidence showed Anderson was in Mississippi just before and after the murder.

That means Philips fell for a mighty interesting story. Because, as Thursday’s testimony reveals, Anderson told police that he was in Compton — not Mississippi — just before and after the murder.

Anderson admitted being in Compton when the murder was planned:

Anderson also admitted that he was present in Compton right before and right after the murder:

Anderson also admits that he helped acquire the vehicle that was used in the murder, and knew the location of the gun that was used to facilitate the murder.

These facts were mentioned in the D.A.’s response to Anderson’s petition. They were set forth in the first paragraph of the introduction to the D.A.’s response. The D.A.’s response says Anderson admitted being present in a Compton record store for the planning of the murder, just one day before the murder — when Anderson’s travel records supposedly show him in Mississippi. I obtained that response through a public records request and it clearly sets out the facts testified to by Anderson on Friday.

Philips didn’t mention any of this in his Page One story. Nor did he mention it in his follow-up story about the District Attorney’s response — even though these facts were prominently mentioned in that response.

Philips was so tied up in this inmate’s story of innocence that he didn’t report basic facts that undercut that story.

What’s Anderson’s explanation for these taped statements? He says a policeman named Tom King, who is now a City Councilman, forced him to say those things as part of a scheme to arrest another individual.

The credibility of that statement, I’ll leave for the reader to decide.

BONUS PELLICANO ANGLE: Also, in Thursday’s testimony, Anderson claimed that he had met with Larry Longo (a former D.A. who lost his job after getting mixed up with Suge Knight while prosecuting him) in prison:

[Longo] said that he was at an investigator by the name of Anthony Pellicano’s office, with the husband of the district attorney on the case.

Anderson goes on to say that while Longo was at Pellicano’s office, the subject of railroaded defendants came up, and his name was mentioned — because the LAPD supposedly knew about his alibi.

The more you read of this fellow’s testimony, the more you realize how foolish the L.A. Times and Chuck Philips were to put any stock in his credibility.

And I haven’t even told you about his deposition yet! That’s the best part.

But it will have to await a future post, because I’m out of time for now.

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