- An interesting editorial in the NYTimes by Hal Varian, on the fashion industry and its laissez-faire attitude inasmuch copyrights are concerned. With conclusions valid for other industries as well... Link via Greg Mankiw's blog.
- On the future of books: a very informative article from The Economist, 22nd of March (subscription required). The introductory paragraphs read:
IN SECRET locations and using secret methods, human beings are scanning lots and lots of books for Google, the world's largest web-search company. That humans are involved is beyond doubt (fingers are visible in the corners of many pages onbooks.google.com) although this is uncharacteristic of Google, which has a fetish for purist technology.
Google will not divulge exact numbers, but Daniel Clancy, the project's lead engineer, gives enough guidance for an educated guess: Google's contract with one university library, Berkeley's, stipulates that it must digitise 3,000 books a day. The minimum for the other 12 universities involved may be lower, but the rate for participating publishers is higher. So a conservative estimate has Google digitising at least 10m books a year. The total number of titles in existence is estimated to be about 65m.
- Can private property rights co-exist with socialism? Gary Becker and Richard Posner show that de facto this has been (to a considerable extent) the case in countries like China for quite a while already (although even the 'socialism' was de facto something else...), while now private property has been legalized there de jure, as well. The English translation of this recent law (adopted on March 16 this year, will become effective October 1st) can be downloaded here (as PDF).