Say it ain’t so, Bill; say it ain’t so!

Image of Shoeless Joe Jackson, via official website. Even if no kid ever actually pleaded with ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson (pictured) (“Say it ain’t so, Joe; say it ain’t so”) to deny his involvement in throwing the 1919 baseball World Series (dramatized in the movie Eight Men Out), it’s still a good line, and entirely apposite to title a post mourning the passing of the best copyright blog on the net.

Last Friday, William Patry announced the demise of his wonderful blog (including – I am sorry to say – the deletion of his hugely informative archives) (see update, below):

End of the blog

I have decided to end the blog, after doing around 800 postings over about 4 years. I regret closing the blog and I owe readers an explanation. There are two reasons.

1. The Inability or Refusal to Accept the Blog for What it is: A Personal Blog
… I started the blog when I was still in private practice … [and w]hile in private practice I never had the experience of people attributing my views to my firm or to my clients. I moved from private practice to Google I put a disclaimer to the effect that the views in the blog (as in the past) were strictly mine. … For the first year after joining Google, with some exceptions, people honored the personal nature of the blog, but no longer. When other blogs or news stories refer to the blog, the inevitable opening sentence now is: “William Patry, Google’s Senior Copyright Counsel said,” or “Google’s top copyright lawyer said… .” There is nothing I can do to stop this false implication that I am speaking on Google’s behalf. … In the end, I concluded that it is no longer possible for me to have a blog that will be respected for what it is, a personal blog

2. The Current State of Copyright Law is too depressing
… 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 Humpty-Dumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately. …

Read the full, sad, weary, post here.

Ave atque vale.

Update (8 August 2008): He has relented a little, to the extent of archiving the blog and restoring old posts, so we don’t have to make use of Google’s cache, as TJ suggests below. But that seems to be it.

Vade in pace.