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Personal Blogs, Personal Views

William Patry, Google’s Senior Copyright Counsel, is ending his blog “The Patry Copyright Blog“. That sentence, in short, gives one of the two reasons he is ending the blog (the other is the horrid state of copyright law, in his view). Patry is a long time copyright lawyer who started the blog while in private practice. Once he joined Google, however, suddenly people projected his blog onto Google. Of course, it is hard to see how to refer to people without saying something about their credentials. Saying, “William Patry, Google’s Senior Copyright Counsel, said this on his blog” seems to give more credence to a view than “William Patry, random guy on the street, said this”, even without making the step to “Google as a company believes this”. But too many people make the last step, making it impossible for Google’s senior copyright counsel to have a personal blog.

I’m primarily an academic, and there seems little harm in referring to me as “Michael Trick, professor at Carnegie Mellon, said …”, since there is a long tradition of celebrating individual views among professors. If everything a university professor said had to be vetted by the university (and who in the university could do such a vetting?), you wouldn’t hear much from professors on any topic. Once in a while, I get identified with organizations. Recently, I was referred to as “Michael Trick, former President of INFORMS” in a blog entry where I have pretty well convinced myself I was not referred to as a “nut with a computer” (though some doubt exists), which is a bit more troublesome. Even in 2002 as President of INFORMS, almost nothing I said was speaking on behalf of INFORMS. Certainly now, if it is not obvious, I don’t speak for INFORMS.

This is also relevant to the recent IBM/ILOG acquisition. We’d all love to hear from the ILOGers and IBMers on what they think it means. I would love to hear it on a personal level on how it will affect their life, their work, our field, and the universe. But it is essentially impossible for anyone at IBM or ILOG to speak personally at this point. Anything they say could be taken as “official” and would draw harsh legal (and company) repercussions. So, until the acquisition is complete, I think we will have to be satisfied with carefully crafted, legally-cleared, official comments.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. MT | August 5, 2008 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Here’s a good writeup on uses of ILOG within IBM middleware software products-

  2. Greg Glockner | August 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that *you* were a nut with a computer! (Great, now people are looking for hidden meanings in *my* blog posts. Good thing my Twitter feed is private!)

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