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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis

“The U.S. Copyright Office has prepared a Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis at the direction of the House Committee on Appropriations. See H. Rep. No. 114-110 (2015). The Committee directed the Register to advise on the IT upgrades, with a cost estimate, that are “required for a 21st century copyright organization.” The Committee further noted the “importance of the Copyright Office as it relates to creativity and commercial artistic activity not only within the United States but also on a world-wide basis.”The Copyright Office has spent several years is engaged in a deliberative public process to lay the groundwork for a modern copyright system, with an eye toward the necessary integration of law, business and IT. The combination of these elements is set forth in the overall strategic plan entitled Positioning the United States Copyright Office for the Future, 2016-2020, published December 1, 2015. The IT Plan provides for an architecture that can meet the current and future needs of a modern copyright agency by minimizing costly infrastructure requirements, embracing cloud services, and utilizing mobile technologies. When this plan is implemented, the Office will, among other things, be able to accept copyright registrations through third-party apps on mobile devices and offer direct, real-time access to the Office’s database of information about copyrighted works through an API. This plan will be further refined in the coming months working with Congress, the Library and Copyright Office customers. A limited number of hard copies of the IT Plan are available by email request, or by visiting Room LM-403 of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. Further to the Committee’s request, the Copyright Office is seeking public comments on a series of questions related to funding strategies and implementation timeline. The Notice of Inquiry, and instructions on how to submit comments, are available here.”

Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report

“Our mission is to provide free access to the sum of all human knowledge. We believe that protecting user privacy and defending against censorship are essential to the success of that mission. Every year, we receive requests from governments, individuals, and organizations to disclose information about our users or to delete or alter content on… Continue Reading

The Potential Effect of Offering Lump Sums in the Social Security Program

“It’s a fiscal Sword of Damocles hanging over America’s future: If no changes are made to the way we operate and finance the Social Security system, its trust fund will run dry around 2033, after which the program will have to pay for itself through ongoing payroll taxes. Those will only be sufficient to cover… Continue Reading

Politically Motivated Corporate Decisions: Evidence from China

Feldman, David and Li, Jiaming and Saxena, Konark, Politically Motivated Corporate Decisions: Evidence from China (February 26, 2016). Available for download at SSRN: “Two conflicting hypotheses assess the effect of political tournaments on corporate decisions: 1) uncertainty regarding outcomes reduces economic activity, and 2) agency-driven incentives increase economic activity. Further assertions suggest that under… Continue Reading

NY Fed – The “Cadillac Tax”: Driving Firms to Change Their Plans?

Liberty Street Economics – Jason Bram, Nicole Dussault and Maxim Pinkovskiy: “Since the 1940s, employers that provide health insurance for their employees can deduct the cost as a business expense, but the government does not treat the value of that coverage as taxable income. This exclusion of employer-provided health insurance from taxable income—$248 billion in… Continue Reading

U.S. Merchant Wholesalers Experience 3.0 Percent Increase in Sales in 2014

“U.S. merchant wholesalers experienced a 3.0 percent increase in sales in 2014, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Annual Wholesale Trade Survey. U.S. merchant wholesalers had sales of $7.7 trillion for the year, up from $7.5 trillion in 2013. E-commerce sales for merchant wholesalers increased 5.3 percent to $2.1 trillion from… Continue Reading

Demographic and Economic Profiles of States Holding March 5 Primaries and Caucuses

“In advance of the March 5 primaries and caucuses, the U.S. Census Bureau presents a variety of statistics that give an overall profile of each participating state’s voting-age population and industries. Statistics include: Voting-age population and estimate of eligible voters (i.e., citizens age 18 and older). Breakdown of voting-age population by race and Hispanic origin.… Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Credit Reform, Federal Health Care Center, Immigration Detention, Federal Vehicles

Credit Reform: Current Method to Estimate Credit Subsidy Costs Is More Appropriate for Budget Estimates Than a Fair Value Approach, GAO-16-41: Published: Jan 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Feb 29, 2016. Federal Health Care Center: VA and DOD Need to Address Ongoing Difficulties and Better Prepare for Future Integrations, GAO-16-280: Published: Feb 29, 2016. Publicly Released:… Continue Reading

The Rare Disease Database

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORAD) – “Every day in America, 30 million people wake up to fight the battle with a rare disease. The vast majority are children. For most, there are no cures and few, if any, proven and effective treatments.  NORD provides a unified voice for those courageous individuals, and the parents… Continue Reading

Patent Licensing, Technology Transfer, & Innovation

Lemley, Mark A. and Feldman, Robin, Patent Licensing, Technology Transfer, & Innovation (February 26, 2016). Available for download at SSRN: “Traditional justifications for patents are all based on direct or indirect contribution to the creation of new products. Patents serve the social interest if they provide not just invention, but innovation the world would… Continue Reading

Employer Speech and the First Amendment

Norton, Helen L., Truth and Lies in the Workplace: Employer Speech and the First Amendment (February 26, 2016). Minnesota Law Review, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN: “Employers’ lies, misrepresentations, and nondisclosures about workers’ legal rights and other working conditions can skew and sometimes even coerce workers’ important life decisions as well as frustrate… Continue Reading