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Dispatch from the 2016 TPI Aspen Forum – Monday General Session Keynotes and Panels

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The first full day of the TPI Aspen Forum began with the discussion panel, “Innovation, Productivity and Growth: Is the Party Over?” TPI’s Scott Wallsten asked the panelists why there seems to be a marked drop in productivity over the past 15 or so years, despite technological advancements. Timothy Bresnahan, Landau Professor in Technology and the Economy and Professor of Economics, Stanford University, opined that most technological advancement has gone into consumption, as opposed to productivity improvements. Mobile, cloud computing, big data and analytics is slowly defusing into productivity instead […]

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Dispatch from the 2016 TPI Aspen Forum – Sunday

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Instead of the normal keynote and welcoming remarks to open the TPI Aspen Forum, we decided the Sunday evening opening reception would be the perfect opportunity to make a very special announcement: TPI President Tom Lenard is stepping down, and current VP for Research Scott Wallsten is taking over. As I didn’t speak last night, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom for his guidance over the almost decade that I’ve worked with him. His unflappable demeanor has always made him a great colleague and boss. And, […]

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Responding to Piracy: What the evidence shows

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Brett Danaher, Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang In two previous blog posts (here and here), we reviewed the available academic evidence on whether piracy harms media sales, and whether this harm leads to reductions in the supply of creative works. Almost all the studies on the first question conclude that piracy does have an adverse effect on sales, and there is also evidence of an adverse effect on the supply of new works. Academic researchers have also asked a third category of questions—what can be done to shift illegal consumption […]

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Research Roundup 4: The Finals!

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Of the NBA and NHL, that is, and, being from the Bay Area, we’re going to revel in this moment. The Sharks have ascended to the grandest stage in hockey probably just to disappoint us in the grandest possible way and pave the way for The Warriors to convert us from primarily hockey fans to primarily basketball fans. Perhaps you’ll watch some finals on cable. So will future governance of the Internet of Things (IOT) allow your IoT-enhanced set top box realize this and automatically record the show for you? […]

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No, The NTIA’s Survey Data Do Not Show a “Tipping Point” in Behavior Due to Privacy Concerns

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An article in the Washington Post on Sunday, May 15, 2016 loudly trumpets a claim that privacy concerns are separating consumers from the Internet: “This chilling effect, pulled out of a survey of 41,000 U.S. households who use the Internet, show the insecurity of the Web is beginning to have consequences that stretch beyond the direct fall-out of an individual losing personal data in breach. The research suggests some consumers are reaching a tipping point where they feel they can no longer trust using the Internet for everyday activities.” – Washington Post The survey, which is […]

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Research Roundup 3: The Research Awakens

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Read me, inquisitive reader. You’re my only hope… Research is very much like the force: Often times misunderstood, most who try to wield it can’t end up doing much with it, but the few who take the time to understand it can wield its vast power to great effect – for good or evil… We’ve been busy scouring the known and unknown universe – from Tatooine to Naboo – to smuggle you the finest research not involving Midichlorians. Whether you want to compare Bitcoin to regulated currency, examine the regulatory […]

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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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