Essays on law, leadership, technology, and "things" – and arts, culture, intellectual property, and commons – and entrepreneurship and innovation – and higher education – and Pittsburgh and urbanism. One law professor's views of the world.
20,000 new residents for the City of Pittsburgh by 2025? Mayor Bill Peduto aims low, but that’s not the real problem in the newly-released “Welcoming Pittsburgh” plan. [Welcoming Pittsburgh plan here.] Still, I’ll start with that. According to Aesop, the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse. But like many recovering industrial cities, Pittsburgh may have to get used to hoping to meet low expectations. Over and over again.
Back when I was writing Pittsblog, immigration and what I called “population churn” were favorite and frequent topics on that blog, linking population turnover (not necessarily population growth) to economic development and diversification. Samples:
In other words: Everything old is new again. The Mayor’s Office and the Downtown Powers-That-Be have re-discovered something that lots of people who are better informed than I am have known for a long time: Whatever the future of Pittsburgh may bring, the people who live here right now will need a lot of help in bringing it about.
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?
“[S]ocial and cultural patterns underlying case-by-case adjudication of fairuse problems may have achieved something that formal reliance on the fairuse statute has been unable to produce: a framework for analyzing fairuse 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.”
@NEXTPittsburgh recently published a nice roundup and review of the independent bookstores in the region that are standing proud for print as well as text. Pittsburgh isn’t as publicly bookish as say, Boston, but it’s nice to know that there are a few outlets left for those of us who like to browse in person as well as online.
This report — “Abbott & Costello Heirs Sue Over Lifting of ‘Who’s on First’ Routine” by @HandtoGodBway — reminded me that many years ago, I borrowed the spirit of “Who’s on First?” for a short and silly piece about copyright law. The piece got published but never made its way to the unrarefied air of the Internet. I’ve corrected that omission.
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?