Archive for the 'long tail' Category

Caron’s Long Tail of Legal Scholarship

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With usual delay I just read Paul Caron’s nice essay The Long Tail of Legal Scholarship that was recently posted on SSRN. Caron contrasts the findings of Tom Smith’s ongoing research project on citations of scholarly works in law review articles with his own analysis of SSRN downloads.

Smith’s citation analysis characterizes legal scholarship, in contrast to what long tail theory would suggest, as a hit-driven market (the top 0.5% of articles get 18% of all citations, the top 17% get 79% of all citations, and 40% of articles get never cited at all.)

Caron, in contrast, argues that the picture changes if one looks at consumption rather than the end use of legal scholarship. Using download counts from SSRN as an alternative measure, Caron demonstrates that the tail is getting much longer and is consistent with the long tail thesis: “… 97% of authors have had at least one download in the past year and 100% have had at least one download at some time.”

See also this post and chart.

Slater and McGuire on (Taste) Sharing

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Mike McGuire and Derek Slater have released an interesting Gartner/Berkman Center report entitled “Consumer Taste Sharing Is Driving the Online Music Business and Democratizing Culture” that analyzes the extent of peoples’ use of consumer-to-consumer recommendation tools such as playlists. Here’s their prediction:

By 2010, 25 percent of online music store transactions will be driven directly from consumer-to-consumer taste-sharing applications, such as playlist publishing and ranking tools built into online music stores or external sites with links to stores.

Check also Derek Slater’s playlist on this topic, and his comments here.

New Berkman Report on Digital Media Industry

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The Berkman Center’s Digital Media Project team has released an in-depth analysis of the impacts of policy choises on emerging business models in the music and film industries. Here’s the link to the paper and the abstract:

Content and Control: Assessing the Impact of Policy Choices on Potential Online Business Models in the Music and Film Industries

The online environment and new digital technologies threaten the viability of the music and film industries’ traditional business models. The industries have responded by seeking government intervention, among other means, to protect their traditional models as well as by developing new models specifically adapted to the online market. Industry activity and public debate have focused on three key policy areas related to copyright holders’ control of content: technical interference with and potential liability of P2P services; copyright infringers’ civil and criminal liability; and legal reinforcement of digital rights management technologies (DRM).

This paper seeks to support policymakers’ decision making by delineating the potential consequences of policy actions in these areas. To do so, it assesses how such action would impact relevant social values and four business models representative of current and emerging attempts to generate viable revenues from digital media. The authors caution that government intervention is currently premature because it is unlikely to strike an appropriate balance between achieving industry goals while supporting other social values, such as consumer rights, the diversity of available content, and technological innovation.

Special thanks — and congratulations — to Derek Slater and Meg Smith of the Berkman team for their work.

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