News and Commentary
An article in Billboard discusses the approval of sections of the American Law Institute’s Restatement on Copyright Law. While the text of the Restatement has yet to be released, anonymous sources discussed concerns related to the fixation of broadcasted works and contractual requirements for joint ownership. While the article points out those who are skeptical of the scope of current copyright law, like NYU Law’s Christopher Sprigman, less emphasis of is given to the hawkish views on copyright held by the Restatement’s critics quoted in the article.
In Bloomberg, Mark Bergen discusses the lobbying efforts of tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon in lobbying against right-to-repair laws currently proposed in states across the country. Such laws combat anticompetitive practices like not making schematics or replacement parts available, and without them independent repair shops and tinkerers have a difficult time repairing devices with the necessary components.
For EFF, Joe Mullin discusses the formation of the University Technology Licensing Program LLC, a private entity designed to extract licensing fees from alleged users of patented technology. This isn’t necessarily a problem if quality innovations are those being licensed, but it is concerning that the proposal sent to the UC Board of Regents, “explains that the LLC’s goal will be to get payment for patents that “have not been successfully licensed via a bilateral ‘one patent, one license’ transaction.” The universities’ proposal is to start by licensing in three areas: autonomous vehicles, “Internet of Things,” and Big Data.” Members of the UTLP include UCLA, Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, and Yale.
For Techdirt, Timothy Geigner discusses a recently dismissed case against Netflix brought by a high school teacher alleging infringement over the former’s show Outer Banks based on the latter’s book Pennywise: The Hunt for Blackbeard’s Treasure! The dismissal is a textbook case of the idea/expression dichotomy, as the main similarities between the two works are treasure hunting and references to birds in each of the stories.
A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic research compares the crisis innovation policies of the United States from World War II and those of the COVID-19 pandemic, examining the tradeoffs of different policy tools when speed becomes vastly more important than during normal times.
Another NBER paper examines the incentives for funding risky research, finding that investment is “biased against risky research” and examine why entities principally responsible in research investment are biased in that way.
The Congressional Budget Office examined trends related to research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, finding that the industry spent about $83 billion on R&D in 2019, a tenfold increase from 1980. Additionally, it found that the cost to develop a new drug ranges from $1 to $2 billion.