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Daily Archives: December 19, 2017

Digital Publishing: Three Futures (and How to Get There)

Maurer, Stephen M., Digital Publishing: Three Futures (and How to Get There) (December 3, 2017). Available at SSRN:

“The usual assumption that copyright rewards creativity is a fiction. In practice, most authors earn very little compared to their publishers. This article asks what services, if any, publishers supply to justify these payments. We argue that the only reasonable candidate is search, i.e. finding worthwhile titles among the million or so books written each year. For most of the 20th Century, there was just one search technology: Human judgment. This led to a complex ecosystem of editors, bookstore owners, reviewers and other middlemen. The difference in the 21st Century is the emergence of a second technology – “Big Data” – that could make traditional methods obsolete. But in that case what new institutions will implement it? Depending on how Big Data evolves, we can anticipate three futures. In the first, the technology never advances much beyond its existing capabilities so that current institutions continue in something like their present form. We argue that is already an improvement over mid-20th Century publishing. At the same time, the advent of e-readers allows new forms of price discrimination that could significantly improve economic efficiency. Judges should reform the Second Circuit’s Apple decision to make this happen. More powerful “Big Data” technologies will force deeper changes. These will almost certainly start with massive vertical integration. Our second future analyzes the case where today’s dominant on-line retailers continue expanding up- and downstream. Despite obvious concerns, we argue that clearing away costly middlemen will almost certainly improve social welfare on net. We also consider an alternate future in which today’s dominant publishers preempt retailers by creating an open search platform. Taking search outside traditional proprietary models can radically improve consumer welfare, but only if legislators are prepared to make correspondingly large adjustments to copyright law. Finally, we ask which of our three futures is most likely. We argue that Big Data algorithms are inherently voracious, so that the future belongs to whichever institutions collect the biggest and most useful datasets. We identify the conditions under which proprietary solutions can outperform open source and vice versa. The article concludes by asking what judges and policymakers should do to create a level playing field so that the most efficient institutions really do emerge if and when technology makes them possible.

Census – 2016 Annual Survey of Manufactures

2016 Annual Survey of Manufactures: General Statistics, Value of Products Shipments, Industry-Product Analysis and Geographic Area Statistics, December 15, 2017, Release Number: CB17-TPS.86 “The 2016 Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) release includes general statistics, value of products shipments, industry-product analysis and geographic area statistics for 2015 and 2016. The ASM provides data about manufacturing that… Continue Reading

GAO – Federal Pay – Opportunities Exist to Enhance Strategic Use of Special Payments

Federal Pay: Opportunities Exist to Enhance Strategic Use of Special Payments, GAO-18-91: Published: Dec 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 2017. “Federal agencies can tap an array of incentives when they need to recruit or retain experts in cyber security, engineering, or some other in-demand field. Seven special payment authorities allow agencies to pay higher… Continue Reading

Here come the drones

December 19, 2017 – 8% of Americans say they own a drone, while more than half have seen one in operation: “Drones are catching on as consumer goods. As of mid-2017, 8% of Americans say they own a drone and 59% say they have seen one in action, according to a Pew Research Center survey.… Continue Reading

Commentary – Law’s Emerging Global Community and What It Means

Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, December 18, 2017: “There is an emerging global legal community that is reshaping the culture, face, contours, composition participants, skillsets, and priorities of the legal industry. It is forging a culture that is transparent, collaborative, diverse, cross-border, data-driven, problem solving, tech and process centric, diverse, inter-disciplinary, merit-centric, flat, pedigree-agnostic, and innovative.… Continue Reading

Report – The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration

“The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration finds that the long-term impact of immigration on the wages and employment of native-born workers overall is very small, and that any negative impacts are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born high school dropouts. First-generation immigrants are more costly to governments than are the… Continue Reading

The new ice free Arctic?

Let it go: The Arctic will never be frozen again By Eric Holthaus on Dec 18, 2017: “Last week, at a New Orleans conference center that once doubled as a storm shelter for thousands during Hurricane Katrina, a group of polar scientists made a startling declaration: The Arctic as we once knew it is no… Continue Reading Further Enhancements to Functionality

“On December 18, 2017, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) released a new set of updates to as part of its ongoing effort to enhance the usability of the database (see First in a Series of Changes to Improve Usability for Stakeholders). Most of the features provided in the current release were previously… Continue Reading

ProPublica Lobbying Registration Database

ProPublica Lobbying Registration Database Updated daily. By Jeremy B. Merrill “It can seem like lobbyists run Washington from behind the scenes. But their work isn’t completely opaque. They’re required to register with the House and the Senate when they lobby for a new client. Former members of Congress, former congressional staffers and former high-level regulators… Continue Reading

Facebook Announces New Tools to Prevent Harassment

FB news release: “Today we are announcing new tools to prevent harassment on Facebook and in Messenger – part of our ongoing efforts to build a safe community.Based on feedback from people who use Facebook, as well as organizations representing groups who disproportionately experience harassment like women and journalists, we are introducing new features that:… Continue Reading

House Office of Compliance – Additional Statistics on Harassment in Congressional Workplace

“As part of the Committee on House Administration’s extensive review of sexual harassment and discrimination in the congressional workplace, Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) received additional information on the statistics of settlements and awards from the Office of Compliance (OOC). The OOC provided the Committee with additional statistics of settlements and awards paid by type of… Continue Reading