Posts Tagged ‘antitrust’

AT&T Time Warner merger

My new piece at CNN begins by noting that antitrust law has moved on since the Truman era, even if the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t quite:

In 1948 the US Supreme Court ordered Hollywood studios to sell their movie theaters, following the then-popular idea that the government should police marketplace competition by restraining businesses’ vertical integration — or as we might put it these days, by ordering content kept separate from distribution.

The surprise in 2018 is not so much that US District Judge Richard Leon rejected the government’s challenge to the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger. That much was expected by most antitrust watchers. The shock came from the stinging way he rejected the government’s evidence — using language such as “gossamer thin” and “poppycock.”

CNN, of course, is owned by merger participant Time Warner. The question is not whether vertical integration will happen in video delivery, but whether older companies will be allowed to catch up. For Washington to block a merger like this, I suggest, “would be as futile as attempting to separate Net from Flix or You from Tube.”

Chasing data portability on social media

Data portability mandates on tech companies like Facebook are sometimes conceived as a way to bring about more competitive market structures pleasing to antitrust enforcers by engineering a less “sticky” consumer experience. But is it really much of a solution to anything? [Alex Tabarrok citing Will Rinehart, American Action Forum; more, Tyler Cowen]

May 30 roundup

  • “Leave your 13-year-old home alone? Police can take her into custody under Illinois law” [Jeffrey Schwab, Illinois Policy]
  • So many stars to sue: Huang v. leading Hollywood names [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar]
  • Morgan Spurlock’s claim in 2004’s Super Size Me of eating only McDonald’s food for a month and coming out as a physical wreck with liver damage was one that later researchers failed to replicate; now confessional memoir sheds further doubt on baseline assertions essential to the famous documentary [Phelim McAleer, WSJ]
  • If you’ve seen those “1500 missing immigrant kids” stories — and especially if you’ve helped spread them — you might want to check out some of these threads and links [Josie Duffy Rice, Dara Lind, Rich Lowry]
  • “Antitrust Enforcement by State Attorney Generals,” Federalist Society podcast with Adam Biegel, Vic Domen, Jennifer Thomson, Jeffrey Oliver, and Ian Conner]
  • “The lopsided House vote for treating assaults on cops as federal crimes is a bipartisan portrait in cowardice.” [Jacob Sullum, more, Scott Greenfield, earlier on hate crimes model for “Protect and Serve Act”]

March 28 roundup

February 21 roundup

  • Minimum 18 age for marriage, stadium subsidies, bill requiring landlords to distribute voter registration material, dollar-home programs, and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes; earlier on NJ first-in-nation ban on under-18 marriage]
  • Now shuttered by California regulation: startup that allowed home cooks to sell meals directly to neighbors [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Guess who’s hosting a program of his own on Russia’s RT network? Tub-thumping plaintiff’s lawyer, sometime RFK Jr. pal and longtime Overlawyered favorite Michael Papantonio;
  • “Should the governments give LGBT-owned businesses a leg up in public contracts?” (Answer: no. Set-asides and preferences are unfair in themselves and deprive taxpayers and those served of the best price/value proposition.) [Bobby Allyn, NPR Marketplace]
  • “Network effects” bogeyman gets deployed to bolster many an antitrust nostrum [David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee, Cato “Regulation”] “The Future of Antitrust” Federalist Society video with Ronald Cass, Daniel Crane, Judge Douglas Ginsburg, Jonathan Kanter, Barry Lynn, moderated by Judge Brett Kavanaugh;
  • Arguments fated to lose: “After 4th DWI, man argues legal limit discriminates against alcoholics” [Chuck Lindell, Austin American-Statesman]

November 1 roundup

  • Antitrust crackdown on Big Tech based on predictions of where markets may head in future? Just don’t [Alan Reynolds in part three of series; parts one and two]
  • Copyright holder sends mass demands to IP address holders, but for lower amounts and as “fines” rather than settlements. A move away from troll model, or refinement of it? [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • Among the many issues far afield from Bill of Rights that ACLU is up to lately: defending drive-by ADA filing operations against remedial legislation [ACLU, earlier on its drift from civil liberties mission]
  • Texas AG sues arguing unconstitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); case involves blocking of “adoption [that] has the support of the boy’s biological parents and grandmother, Paxton said.” [Texas Tribune] More: Timothy Sandefur, NR;
  • More local and personal than my usual fare, I ramble about my education and upbringing, why I live where I live, as well as some policy matters [Frederick News-Post “Frederick Uncut” local-newsmaker podcast with Colin McGuire and Danielle Gaines]
  • “What’s the Difference between ‘Major,’ ‘Significant,’ and All Those Other Federal Rule Categories?” [Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr., CEI]

October 18 roundup

  • Research by Todd Henderson et al. suggests that lawyers may often do well as CEOs, and anticipating and reducing litigation risk may be a key mechanism [Stephen Bainbridge]
  • Canada: Couple sues neighbors for $2.5 million for copying their house’s architecture [Rain Noe, Core77]
  • Abraham Lincoln on public choice and the aligning of interest with ethical duty [David Henderson]
  • Redistricting, Anne Arundel county executive allies with trial lawyers to file opioids suit, Baltimore police, Montgomery County minimum wage in my latest Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes]
  • Black smokers in the U.S. are more likely than whites to prefer menthol, and prohibitionists frame foiling their wishes as a matter of racial justice [Christian Britschgi]
  • Here come the trustbusting conservatives back again, no more convincing this time around [Steven Greenhut]

Lawsuit: eateries’ switch to service-included policy was price-fixing conspiracy

Sued over tip division, some popular New York City restaurants switched to service-included pricing. Now, lawyers are suing them over that, calling it a price-fixing conspiracy in violation of antitrust laws and saying that the hike in menu prices was higher than the amount needed to cover servers’ compensation. [Steve Cuozzo, New York Post]

October 11 roundup

Labor and employment roundup

  • Welcome news: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta urges states to fix occupational licensing [Eric Boehm, Reason] Fresh thinking on the antitrust angle in a bill from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) [Ilya Shapiro, Cato] “Occupational licensing should not be used to keep honest Americans out of work” [Clark Neily, The Hill] Video of Heritage panel on the subject with Maureen Ohlhausen of the FTC, Alex Tabarrok, Paul Larkin, and Dexter Price [Marginal Revolution]
  • “The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has allowed an employee to pursue a disability discrimination claim based on the use of medical marijuana.” [Jon Hyman]
  • That’s how we’ll solve difficult issues of statutory interpretation. We’ll call names [Richard Thompson Ford, Take Care, on expansion of Title VII interpretation to sexual orientation, earlier here, here, etc.] More: Scott Greenfield;
  • If not for wise lawmakers like those in California, who would look out for our privacy? [Steven Greenhut on proposal to give unions private workers’ phone numbers and addresses]
  • D.C. politicians are one big reason residents east of Anacostia River have poor grocery options [Diana Furchtgott-Roth; minimum wage]
  • Uniform, predictable test needed for who is an “employee” and “employer” [Glenn Lammi, WLF, first and second posts]