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Website Blocking Revisited

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By Brett Danaher, Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang Blocking access to sites that promote piracy is one of the more controversial enforcement proposals for dealing with online copyright infringement. Many in the entertainment industry have argued that website blocking is an important and necessary strategy to convince consumers to access content through legal channels. However, many other observers argue that blocking access to pirate sites will simply cause pirates to move to other, unblocked, sites, leaving demand for legal content unchanged.  How can we test which of these assertions […]

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Piracy and Buzz

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Liye Ma, Alan Montgomery, and Michael D. Smith Late last month, the online piracy group Hive-CM8 issued an apology of sorts for leaking Quentin Tarantino’s movie The Hateful Eight onto pirate networks before the movie’s theatrical release. But after apologizing (not for the act itself but “the trouble we caused”), the group argued that their leak would actually increase the movie’s theatrical sales. “Since everyone is now talking about this movie,” the group wrote, “we don’t think the producers will lose any money … We actually think this has created […]

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Piracy and the Supply of New Creative Works

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Brett Danaher, Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang Last week we blogged about the peer-reviewed academic literature studying whether piracy harms sales, showing that articles in peer-reviewed journals overwhelmingly find that piracy causes harm to producers by reducing legal sales and revenues. In today’s blog, we will cover a second important policy question regarding piracy: Does piracy harm consumers? In contrast to the first question, there is little evidence informing this question within the peer-reviewed literature. The reason it is more difficult to determine the effect of piracy on consumers is […]

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The Partisan FCC

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A common lament lately is the increasing partisanship in our government institutions. No longer do politicians reach across party lines to reach compromises with their ideological opposites. One might expect our expert, independent agencies to buck that trend. Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, at least, seems to be following Congress down the partisan divide. Voting data from the FCC shows that the share of commissioner votes on orders split along party lines is higher in Chairman Tom Wheeler’s commission than under the average of either Republican or Democratic chairmen back […]

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The Telecommunications Act of 1996 Employed 1000 Lawyers for A Decade

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February 8, 2016 is the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, whose primary goal was creating a “procompetitive, deregulatory framework.” In this blog post, I consider one indicator near and dear to Washington, DC: How did it affect lawyers? (And what might that answer say about how well the Act met its goals?) It’s not obvious what would be the best data on corporate legal activity or how to compile it, but one indicator is the number of Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) members. The FCBA, founded in 1936, describes itself […]

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The Truth About Piracy

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Brett Danaher, Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang Earlier this week, we gave a keynote talk at the Sundance Film Festival about how piracy impacts independent filmmakers. Our talk was based on a paper we delivered to the World Intellectual Property Organization last month, where we presented the economic evidence about three main questions: Does piracy harm sales? Does piracy harm consumers? Can anything be done about piracy? As academics, we don’t care what the answers to these questions are: a well-identified result that says piracy doesn’t hurt sales is just […]

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Research Roundup Strikes Back

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Welcome to another exciting edition of Technology Policy Institute’s Research Roundup, or TPIRR (possibly the most exciting acronym to come out of our nation’s capital since CHOMP: Consumers Have Options for Molar Protection Act). In this edition we highlight the importance of how reputation affects participants in the gig economy, as demonstrated by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As it turns out, good reviews mean something; who knew? We also bring you research on large molecule biologics and pharmaceutical intellectual property, Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), and a primer on cyber-security at the network level. CAN REPUTATION […]

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TPI Research Roundup

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Welcome, one and all, to the Technology Policy Institute’s semi-frequent Research Roundup. For those not in the know, the research roundup is about to re-establish itself as the pre-eminent and post-eminent (possibly currently-eminent as well) source for fascinating and riveting research on any and all topics remotely related to technology. Digging through the dark depths of research journals and working papers, we bring to you hand-selected, craftman quality scholarship of vintage 2015 or later (note the subtle earthy tones, with hints of jasmine and citrus). This week, we highlight how […]

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2015 TPI Aspen Forum – Monday Lunch Keynote Discussion and Dinner Address Videos Available

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The Monday morning TPI Aspen Forum activities concluded with a special luncheon discussion featuring Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Daniel Marti, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. John Duffy from the University of Virginia School of Law acted as moderator of the discussion. After short remarks form Director Lee, they discussed a range of intellectual property topics including recent patent reform legislation efforts, proposals to relocate the U.S. Copyright Office, and activities in China concerning […]

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Dispatch from the 2015 TPI Aspen Forum – Monday General Session Keynotes and Panels

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The first full day of the Forum began with a keynote by Tim Bresnahan, Landau Professor of Technology and the Economy, Department of Economics and, by courtesy, Professor of Economics for the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Bresnahan kicked off the conference with a riveting talk on ICT innovation over the past 50 years and his prediction of what’s to come. During the Q&A session, he was asked if we are accurately measuring ICT innovations and their effect on the economy. Bresnahan explained that jobs and shifts in […]

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