#Pittsburgh Needs Bodies

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.

You’re going to need a bigger boat. Continue reading #Pittsburgh Needs Bodies

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 Has Bookstores, Still

@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.


My favorite, for entirely idiosyncratic reasons, is the decades-old Penguin Bookshop, @penguinbookshop. It’s worth the drive down Route 65 to Sewickley.

But check ’em all out, and buy some books.

Abbott and Costello, Copyright, and Me

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.

Download “What’s My Copy Right?,” 48 J. Copyright Soc’y (U.S.A.) 787 (2001), for free, via SSRN.

I’m aware that the paper somehow confuses the performers’ names, which were, properly Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

Reports of the contemporary copyright claim appear, among other places, at