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Using Antitrust to Tax Consumers is a Bad Idea Even If You Really, Really Want “True” Interoperability

TOTM There is some antitrust buzz in the air after Steve Job’s “Thoughts on Music,” which discussed the possibility of eliminating DRM entirely. The real antitrust . . .

There is some antitrust buzz in the air after Steve Job’s “Thoughts on Music,” which discussed the possibility of eliminating DRM entirely. The real antitrust story, I suspect, is whether the rather transparent attempt to shift the gaze of regulators fixated on the iPod/iTunes combo to the big four’s “refusal” to go DRM-free will have any success. Antitrust Review has covered these issues at length, and Randy Picker chimes in as well. So does Frank Pasquale , who applauds the Norwegian antitrust attack on Apple and suggests that Apple adopt a “true interoperability” approach which “would likely lead to a boom in the sale of both digital music players and music.”

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

The Market for DRM

TOTM Everyone is talking about Steve Jobs’ open letter on DRM,”Thoughts on Music,” including, best among all of them, my colleague, Josh. Among many others, see . . .

Everyone is talking about Steve Jobs’ open letter on DRM,”Thoughts on Music,” including, best among all of them, my colleague, Josh. Among many others, see excellent entries from Jim DeLong, Randy Picker and Mike Madison. Frank Pasquale weighs in with a predictable post about how wonderful the world would be if we just regulated his (perfect) vision of the world, but Josh pretty handily skewers his musings.

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Intellectual Property & Licensing

Shelf Space Again: Congress Announces Antitrust Investigation of the Grocery Market

TOTM Representative Kucinich has announced that the House Oversight and Government Reform Domestic Policy Subcommittee will be launching an investigation into “a variety of marketplace issues . . .

Representative Kucinich has announced that the House Oversight and Government Reform Domestic Policy Subcommittee will be launching an investigation into “a variety of marketplace issues including monopolies in the grocery industry.” HT: AntitrustProf Blog. Hearings are apparently tentatively scheduled for mid-month. What is the committee looking for? Just about anything.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Is There Really Less Securities Fraud? And If So, Should We Thank the Feds?

TOTM Securities fraud class-actions are down. In an op-ed in yesterday’s WSJ, Joseph Grundfest observed that both the number of such actions and the dollar value . . .

Securities fraud class-actions are down. In an op-ed in yesterday’s WSJ, Joseph Grundfest observed that both the number of such actions and the dollar value of total damages claims have dropped dramatically since mid-2005. Why has this decline occurred? Grundfest considers several possible reasons.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Hazlett on the Madness of e-Crowds

TOTM This piece by my colleague Tom Hazlett is really the best thing I’ve read online all week and has been getting some attention across the . . .

This piece by my colleague Tom Hazlett is really the best thing I’ve read online all week and has been getting some attention across the blogosphere (see, e.g., here and here) and I’m happy to contribute by posting Hazlett’s characteristically powerful punchline…

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Intellectual Property & Licensing

Let Ethanol Fail

TOTM The recent State of the Union address, in which President Bush called for an almost 500% increase in alternative fuel consumption by 2017, once again . . .

The recent State of the Union address, in which President Bush called for an almost 500% increase in alternative fuel consumption by 2017, once again turned the nation’s attention to the various elixirs that promise to make the U.S. “energy independent.” The closer we look, though, the less appealing the leading alternative fuel — ethanol — appears to be.

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Innovation & the New Economy

Barriers to Entry

TOTM I have had occasion to think about the relationship between property rights and barriers to entry lately, and was reminded of the following line which . . .

I have had occasion to think about the relationship between property rights and barriers to entry lately, and was reminded of the following line which I thought well worth posting on its own…

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Intellectual Property & Licensing

Rizzo and Whitman on Paternalist Slopes

TOTM Libertarian paternalism, behavioral law and economics, and “soft” paternalism are topics of discussion here on TOTM from time to time (see, e.g. here, here, and . . .

Libertarian paternalism, behavioral law and economics, and “soft” paternalism are topics of discussion here on TOTM from time to time (see, e.g. here, here, and here).  Two very good economists who think about these problems quite a bit, Mario Rizzo (NYU) and Glen Whitman (Agoraphilia, CSUN), have posted their paper “Paternalist Slopes.”

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Innovation & the New Economy

AMC Releases Tentative Recommendations

TOTM The tentative recommendations of the Antitrust Modernization Committee are out, and include Commissioner vote counts for various propositions. The recommendations largely take the form of . . .

The tentative recommendations of the Antitrust Modernization Committee are out, and include Commissioner vote counts for various propositions. The recommendations largely take the form of propositions that the AMC Commissioners joined, did not join, or were undetermined. Here are a few that caught my eye on an initial read-through (note that 2-5 apply to merger analysis).

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Intellectual Property & Licensing