Money for Something: Music Licensing in the 21st Century

Money for Something: Music Licensing in the 21st Century. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Dana A. Scherer. April 6, 2018

 Songwriters and recording artists are legally permitted to get paid for (1) reproductions and public performances of the notes and lyrics they create (the musical works), as well as (2) reproductions, distributions, and certain digital performances of the recorded sound of their voices combined with instruments (the sound recordings). The amount they get paid, as well as their control over their music, depends on market forces, contracts among a variety of private-sector entities, and laws governing copyright and competition policy. 

Congress first enacted laws governing music licensing in 1909, when music was primarily distributed through physical media such as sheet music and phonograph records. At the time, some Members of Congress expressed concerns that absent a statutory requirement to make musical works widely available, licensees could use exclusive access to musical works to thwart competition. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) expressed similar concerns in the 1940s, when it entered into consent decrees requiring music publishers to license music to radio broadcast stations.

 [PDF format, 32 pages].

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Is Climate Restoration an Appropriate Climate Policy Goal?

Is Climate Restoration an Appropriate Climate Policy Goal? RAND Corporation.  Robert J. Lempert et al. April 6, 2018

 Since the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, society has organized efforts to limit the magnitude of climate change around the concept of stabilization — that is, accepting some climate change but holding it within acceptable bounds. This report offers an initial exploration of the concept of climate restoration — that is, approaches that seek to return atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to preindustrial levels within one to two generations. Using a simple integrated assessment model, the analysis examines climate restoration through the lens of risk management under conditions of deep uncertainty, exploring the technology, economic, and policy conditions under which it might be possible to achieve various climate restoration goals and the conditions under which society might be better off with (rather than without) a climate restoration goal. This report also explores near-term actions that might help manage the risks of climate restoration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 51 pages].

The Smart Grid: Status and Outlook

The Smart Grid: Status and Outlook. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Richard J. Campbell. April 10, 2018

 The electrical grid in the United States comprises all of the power plants generating electricity, together with the transmission and distribution lines and systems that bring power to end-use customers. The “grid” also connects the many publicly and privately owned electric utility and power companies in different states and regions of the United States. However, with changes in federal law, regulatory changes, and the aging of the electric power infrastructure as drivers, the grid is changing from a largely patchwork system built to serve the needs of individual electric utility companies to essentially a national interconnected system, accommodating massive transfers of electrical energy among regions of the United States.

The modernization of the grid to accommodate today’s more complex power flows, serve reliability needs, and meet future projected uses is leading to the incorporation of electronic intelligence capabilities for power control purposes and operations monitoring. The “Smart Grid” is the name given to this evolving intelligent electric power network. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) describes the Smart Grid as “an intelligent electricity grid—one that uses digital communications technology, information systems, and automation to detect and react to local changes in usage, improve system operating efficiency, and, in turn, reduce operating costs while maintaining high system reliability.”

 [PDF format, 18 pages].

Who Is In Special Education And Who Has Access To Related Services?

Who Is In Special Education And Who Has Access To Related Services? New Evidence From The National Survey of Children’s Health.  Brookings Institution.  Nora Gordon. April 5, 2018.

 This report brings data from the newly-released 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) to the robust policy and research debate over the extent to which differences in aggregate special education participation rates over racial and ethnic groups represent differences in underlying needs for special education. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 9 pages].

Counterterrorism Measures and Civil Society

Counterterrorism Measures and Civil Society. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Lana Baydas, Shannon N. Green. March 22, 2018

 To combat the global threat of terrorism, countries have passed and implemented numerous laws that inadvertently or intentionally diminished the space for civil society. States conflate terrorism with broader issues of national security, which is then used as a convenient justification to stifle dissent, including civil society actors that aim to hold governments accountable. As the global terror landscape becomes more complex and dire, attacks on the rights to the freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly only increase. This report analyzes the impact of counterterrorism efforts on civic space, examines its manifestations in various socioeconomic and political contexts, and explores various approaches to disentangle and reconcile security and civil society. It features case studies on Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Hungary, and India. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 87 pages].

A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty among Older Social Security Recipients

A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty among Older Social Security Recipients. Urban Institute. Pamela Herd et al. April 2, 2018

 In light of concerns about Social Security costs and benefit adequacy, we propose an effective and relatively inexpensive targeted program to provide a minimally adequate floor to old-age income through the program. This minimum benefit plan would provide a cost-effective method for reducing elder poverty to low levels. A key element is that the benefit would not count toward other social programs’ income eligibility thresholds. Other aspects include an income-tested benefit that would bring beneficiaries to the poverty threshold; application by filing of a 1040 income tax return; and setting of benefit levels and distribution through the Social Security Administration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 17 pages].

 

Bots in the Twittersphere

Bots in the Twittersphere: An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated accounts – not human beings. Pew Research Center.  Stefan Wojcik et al. April 9, 2018

 The role of so-called social media “bots” – automated accounts capable of posting content or interacting with other users with no direct human involvement – has been the subject of much scrutiny and attention in recent years. These accounts can play a valuable part in the social media ecosystem by answering questions about a variety of topics in real time or providing automated updates about news stories or events. At the same time, they can also be used to attempt to alter perceptions of political discourse on social media, spread misinformation, or manipulate online rating and review systems. As social media has attained an increasingly prominent position in the overall news and information environment, bots have been swept up in the broader debate over Americans’ changing news habits, the tenor of online discourse and the prevalence of “fake news” online. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 30 pages].