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Entries from March 2011

Things That Are Irrelevant to Copyright Policy

March 30th, 2011 · 42 Comments

Sometimes individual creators decide it’s in their best interests to transfer rights to their works—a song, a movie, a story, a character—to big, faceless, generally unsympathetic corporations. This should have exactly no impact on anyone’s view about the proper scope of the underlying right. Yes, sometimes people are hoodwinked into making unwise deals, and that’s […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

Orphan Works

March 26th, 2011 · 23 Comments

The ruling rejecting the Google Books settlement suggests, plausibly enough, that any general solution to the problem of orphan works is more properly the task of Congress than any kind of private agreement. I’ll admit to being a bit puzzled about why this hasn’t already happened. I take it for granted that our current lunatic […]

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Tags: Markets · Tech and Tech Policy

Genies and Justice

March 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

An entertaining thought experiment from the folks at Bleeding Heart Libertarians: Suppose a genie gives you the power to snap your fingers and instantly implement your preferred theory of political justice. By “theory of political justice” I mean, very roughly, your theory about the basic moral constraints that govern what states (or, if you prefer, […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory

Google Books, Fair Uses, and “Copyright” as Misnomer

March 24th, 2011 · 19 Comments

Tim Lee has a great analysis at Ars Technica of this week’s ruling invalidating the controversial Google Books settlement. Tim, like the court, focuses on aspects of the agreement that seem to give Google a unique advantage in the online book market—and hopes that instead Google will now simply defend its copying of books for […]

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Tags: Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Werner Heisenberg, Economist

March 18th, 2011 · 8 Comments

Interesting passing observation from Yglesias: [F]or all the horrors of the current recession it’s been managed much better than the Great Depression of the 1930s was. Progress is happening. The only way to make more rapid progress on the science of macroeconomic stabilization would be to have many more recessions so as to gather better […]

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Tags: Economics · General Philosophy

What Is Liberty? Does It Matter?

March 16th, 2011 · 11 Comments

The recently-launched Bleeding Heart Libertarians is rapidly becoming one of my favorite blogs. Jacob Levy, in particular, has been articulating with uncanny clarity a whole cluster of thoughts that had been bouncing around the back of my own head for a few months now. But since agreement gets boring quickly, let me pick on one […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory