#WHFrontiers: Pittsburgh’s Innovation Story in Full

Free download:  “Contrasts in Innovation: Pittsburgh Then and Now,” http://ssrn.com/abstract=1858741

That’s a full and complete account of innovation and other things in Pittsburgh today, or the good, the bad, and the ugly about Pittsburgh’s continuing journey on the road to recovery post-steel collapse, economically speaking and otherwise.  Anyone coming to Pittsburgh or coming to Pittsburgh’s story via a line arguing that Pittsburgh’s innovation is in high gear and that Pittsburgh is a model region for tech, tech policy, and urban reinvention … should read further.  Good things are happening in Pittsburgh, but there is more going on – more innovation than innovation in tech, and things that aren’t so innovative and that aren’t so good – than are captured in the headlines.


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GFOP: Bob Bradley, Swansea City, and Soccer’s Past and Future

First the loss of the colonies, and now an American manager in the Premier League. It might as well be the end of the Empire.

The big news for American soccer fans, of course, is the appointment of Bob Bradley, a New Jersey native, as manager of Swansea City AFC, a professional club currently standing 17th in the 20-team Premier League. That’s the top division of British football (for any non-soccer fans still reading this piece: Scottish teams play in their own, Scottish leagues, but top Welsh teams, such as Swansea, play in the Premiership, alongside teams based in England, rather than in the Welsh Football League), and arguably the top flight of club soccer worldwide – certainly the case from the perspective of revenue, expense, and television attention, and likely the case from the perspective of top-to-bottom quality of play. Bradley is the first American, in short, to reach the absolute top echelon of club soccer as a coach. Continue reading

Pittsblog: Back Again, and the End of News

There is more to say, as it turns out, about law and tech and entrepreneurship and Pittsburgh and various and sundry other things.

Since the end of Pittsblog (born 2003, suspended 2013) and the earlier version of this site (born 2004, suspended 2015), I’ve been looking for the right moment to get back on the ’round, and this morning, there it was: The Pittsburgh Tribune Review, one of Pittsburgh’s two daily newspapers, announced that it will discontinue print publication on November 30. A number of small-ish regionally and locally-oriented “publications” will carry forward, online only.

[The Trib’s announcement is here.]

At long last, Pittsburgh will finally join the ranks of cities with only one daily newspaper. As the old joke goes, if the end of the world finally arrives, be glad that you live in Pittsburgh, because you’ve got another five years to wait.  That’s how long it usually takes for new stuff to wash up on the banks of the city of Three Rivers.

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Orphans Works and Fair Use

.@ARLPolicy @mmasnick and @klsmith4906 have already blogged and tweeted most of what should be said about the recent Report on Orphan Works from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Like them, I’m particularly concerned about the critical tone that the Report adopts regarding fair use, not only with respect to orphan works in particular but with respect to copyright generally. The myth persists that fair use is a bad and unhelpful doctrine, not only for profit-maximizing copyright owners (it is understandable that they would tend to spend out against fair use, though not all do) but also for society as a whole.  Why does the U.S. Copyright Office take what appears to be a dim view of a doctrine that has such a sound historical pedigree and that plays such a fundamental role in the copyright system?

That’s a rhetorical question.

It was written, more than a decade ago:

“[S]ocial and cultural patterns underlying case-by-case adjudication of fair use problems may have achieved something that formal reliance on the fair use statute has been unable to produce: a framework for analyzing fair use problems that is both stable and relatively predictable in the context of legal doctrine, and that corresponds in a sensible way to the behavior of individuals and institutions governed by copyright law.”

On the Report on Orphan Works:

Association of Research Libraries: http://policynotes.arl.org/?p=1075

Mike Masnick, TechDirt: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150607/14411031264/only-copyright-office-would-fix-problem-orphan-works-doubling-down-problem-itself.shtml

Kevin Smith: http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/2015/06/11/this-is-a-solution/

And see Jennifer Urban’s article, “How Fair Use Can Help Solve the Orphan Works Problem.”

#Pittsburgh Contrasts

The @pittsburghpg sometimes provides just the right amount of head-scratching source material.

From one side of the newsroom, today’s paper brings the annual special report on business titled “In the Lead,” with a highly and appropriately celebratory series of stories about innovators and entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh region.  The section starts off with a short piece that highlights the emergent culture of entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh.  Set that positive piece next to this negative one, from Pittsblog back in 2007.  Slowly and inconsistently, Pittsburgh is figuring out how to deal with risk as a key factor in economic development.

But from the other side of the newsroom, apparently unaware of what’s happening in the “special reports” department, today’s paper brings what I think is grim economic news:  “Pittsburgh is one of the least diverse places in the U.S., according to a new study of 200-plus cities that considered factors such as the types of jobs and industries as well as race and ethnicity.”  Here is the report, from WalletHub.  The authors of that report make it clear that they link diversity (across a lot of metrics) to economic prosperity in the 21st century.  I did that, too, in a Pittsblog post (back in 2011, but I was hardly ahead of anyone’s time); if anyone cares to read the comments there, they’ll see that resistance to the diversity theme was strong.

Can Pittsburgh have it both ways?  A risk-taking, entrepreneurial culture that is among the least diverse in the United States?