Free markets are the most efficient and best mechanism for managing most economic activity. But when they operate in arenas in which they can exploit the commons, the logic of the free market dictates that they will destroy it. Virtual retailers, for instance, live off their bricks-and-mortar brethren. They encourage customers to search for clothes that fit properly in retail stores that pay property taxes and other overhead costs, and then to buy them online. In the process, they get fat off the bricks-and-mortar commons.Give all the negative public relations that Elsevier has faced recently is a very different model on the horizon? (The American Interest):
One of the areas I see being chewed up at an alarming speed is privacy -- a vital aspect of our personal commons. We spend hours filtering out junk email, updating passwords, and worrying about stolen identity.
In the physical world, laws protect our privacy, and the cost of gaining access to us is high. (It costs a lot to send physical mail.) Physical spying is expensive. But in the virtual world, we have few property rights, few laws to protect us, and spying is almost free.
But the thought does occur to one: while it is relatively easy to see how public universities might want to support academic research in the natural sciences and economics, just how much do the taxpayers want to contribute toward the production of research of questionable utility in softer fields? And if the answer is, as I suspect it will increasingly be, that the taxpayers don’t want to shell out for these costs, how many fewer professors will our university systems employ?A fascinating look at a new way to 'market' and trade intellectual property (Economist):
It is much more fun to complain about the pirates of Elsevier than it is to think about the future of the mass professoriat, but I suspect that university faculties might soon find it necessary to adjust to a new set of public priorities. Fifteen years ago journalists thought that the internet wasn’t a serious issue for their field; today many of the journalists who once scoffed at the net are now unemployed.
All of which makes this a good time to launch a new approach to trading intellectual property, says Gerard Pannekoek, the boss of IPXI, a new financial exchange that lets companies buy, sell and hedge patent rights, just like any other asset. The idea is to offer a patent or group of patents as “unit licence rights” (ULRs), which can be bought and sold like shares. A ULR grants a one-time right to use a particular technology in a single product: a new type of airbag sensor in a car, say. If a company wants to use the technology in 100,000 cars, it buys 100,000 ULRs at the market price. ULRs are also expected to be traded on secondary markets.Capturing the 'data exhaust' from satellite transmissions to reinvent the way music royalties are made (WSJ):
So in 2009 , he and business partner and composer Chris Woods launched TuneSat, a startup that uses digital technology to monitor satellite TV signals from around the world and keep track of how music is being used in theme songs, advertisements, background soundtracks and other broadcast situations. Schreer is CEO and Woods is COO of the company. The value of the new Big Data driven part of his business has the potential to eclipse revenue from the core business of composing and producing music.Stop sending free textbooks complains higher ed faculty (IHEd):
Beyond that, they say TuneSat may help disrupt the performing rights business, an industry with $2 billion in revenue in U.S. and $9 billion worldwide, by putting powerful algorithms directly in the hands of copyright owners that allow them to scour and analyze the use of their work across the entire national TV market. A web-based application allows subscribers to access TuneSat’s servers and its proprietary analytic tools, in the process allowing them to bypass traditional royalty rights organizations, if they choose.
When I arrived at my office door one morning, arms full of books and lunch and workout clothes, and found my path blocked by an unsolicited box of books, the sales rep found my breaking point. I replied with a sharply but politely worded cease-and-desist message, making as clear as possible that I would disqualify unsolicited texts from consideration for adoption in our program because of my concern.
There are probably 50 pounds of never-requested and never-to-be-used textbooks in my office. I’d prefer 50 pounds of just about anything else. Fifty pounds of in-the-shell roasted peanuts to eat in my office; 50 pounds of water balloons to rain down on the heads of students who smoke under my frequently open office window.