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All of This Has Happened Before and All of This Will Happen Again: Innovation in Copyright Licensing

February 25, 2015 Comments off

All of This Has Happened Before and All of This Will Happen Again: Innovation in Copyright Licensing
Source: Social Science Research Network

Claims that copyright licensing can substitute for fair use have a long history. This article focuses on a new cycle of the copyright licensing debate, which has brought revised arguments in favor of universal copyright licensing. First, the new arrangements offered by large copyright owners often purport to sanction the large-scale creation of derivative works, rather than mere reproductions, which were the focus of earlier blanket licensing efforts. Second, the new licenses are often free. Rather than demanding royalties as in the past, copyright owners just want a piece of the action — along with the right to claim that unlicensed uses are infringing. In a world where licenses are readily and cheaply available, the argument will go, it is unfair not to get one. This development, copyright owners hope, will combat increasingly fair use — favorable case law.

This article describes three key examples of recent innovations in licensing-like arrangements in the noncommercial or formerly noncommercial spheres — Getty Images’ new free embedding of millions of its photos, YouTube’s Content ID, and Amazon’s Kindle Worlds — and discusses how uses of works under these arrangements differ from their unlicensed alternatives in ways both subtle and profound. These differences change the nature of the communications and communities at issue, illustrating why licensing can never substitute for transformative fair use even when licenses are routinely available. Ultimately, as courts have already recognized, the mere desire of copyright owners to extract value from a market — especially when they desire to extract it from third parties rather than licensees — should not affect the scope of fair use.

Rise of the Machines: The Effects of Labor-Saving Innovations on Jobs and Wages

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Rise of the Machines: The Effects of Labor-Saving Innovations on Jobs and Wages (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

How do firms respond to technological advances that facilitate the automation of tasks? Which tasks will they automate, and what types of worker will be replaced as a result? We present a model that distinguishes between a task’s engineering complexity and its training requirements. When two tasks are equally complex, firms will automate the task that requires more training and in which labor is hence more expensive. Under quite general conditions this leads to job polarization, a decline in middle wage jobs relative to both high and low wage jobs. Our theory explains recent and historical instances of job polarization as caused by labor-replacing technologies, such as computers, the electric motor, and the steam engine, respectively. The model makes novel predictions regarding occupational training requirements, which we find to be consistent with US data.

A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality

February 24, 2015 Comments off

A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

This guide consists of four sections. The first describes the commonly used sources and statistics on income and discusses their relative strengths and limitations in understanding trends in income and inequality. The second provides an overview of the trends revealed in those key data sources. The third and fourth sections supply additional information on wealth, which complements the income data as a measure of how the most well-off Americans are doing, and poverty, which measures how the least well-off Americans are doing.

100 Books on Europe to Remember

February 24, 2015 Comments off

100 Books on Europe to Remember
Source: European Parliament

Welcome to this dedicated new web space freely available to the public which presents, in at least one official EU language, a selection of the 100 Books on Europe to Remember.

The European Parliament has attempted to make a comprehensive selection of academic, intellectual and political works on the European idea and the development of the European integration process, taking into account the vast geographical, linguistic and intellectual spectrum of ideas.

CRS — The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries (February 6, 2015)

February 19, 2015 Comments off

The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the federal government currently operates and maintains 13 presidential libraries, and is currently engaging with representatives seeking to construct a presidential library for President Barack Obama. The libraries, which primarily serve as archival repositories and museums in which the records and memorabilia of the former Presidents are held and made available to researchers and the public, are privately constructed on behalf of former Presidents. Before construction on a presidential archival facility can begin, the Archivist must approve a plan, and Congress must be provided 60 days of continuous session during which it can disapprove of the plan. If Congress chooses not to act, the land, buildings, and sometimes other amenities for the library may be deeded to or otherwise placed under the control of the federal government.

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977-1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978-December 1980

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977-1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978-December 1980
Source: U.S. State Department

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978–December 1980. As part of the Foreign Relations subseries devoted to the foreign policy of the administration of President Jimmy Carter, this volume is the second of two volumes that document U.S. efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute. This volume begins with the August 1978 acceptance by Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin of President Carter’s invitation to attend a tripartite summit meeting at Camp David. It traces the course of the September 1978 Camp David Summit and the series of negotiations which followed, talks which culminated in the conclusion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty on March 26, 1979.

During this period, the Arab-Israeli dispute was top on the list of U.S. foreign policy priorities, reflected in President Carter’s direct involvement in the peace process. With the U.S. failure to broaden Arab support for its diplomatic efforts and the pressures caused by a growing number of crises elsewhere, the administration’s engagement with the Arab-Israeli dispute entered a less intensive phase after the spring of 1979. The volume concludes by documenting the administration’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to build upon the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty and address the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the last eighteen months of the administration, U.S. diplomacy toward this issue focused on keeping the faltering autonomy negotiations on track, securing the continued goodwill and stability of Egypt, mediating Sadat’s public rivalries with other Arab countries, dealing with the upheaval in Lebanon, and addressing the series of resolutions related to the Arab-Israeli dispute brought before the United Nations.

CRS — Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response (January 23, 2015)

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in Roe v. Wade that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. In Doe v. Bolton, a companion decision, the Court found that a state may not unduly burden the exercise of that fundamental right with regulations that prohibit or substantially limit access to the means of effectuating the decision to have an abortion. Rather than settle the issue, the Court’s rulings since Roe and Doe have continued to generate debate and have precipitated a variety of governmental actions at the national, state, and local levels designed either to nullify the rulings or limit their effect. These governmental regulations have, in turn, spawned further litigation in which resulting judicial refinements in the law have been no more successful in dampening the controversy.

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