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  • Commentary posted November 29, 2016 by Alden Abbott Justice Department Ignores the Benefits of Contracting Freedom in its Crabbed Reading of Music Distribution Decrees

    The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ignored sound law and economics principles in its August 4 decision announcing a new interpretation of seventy-five year-old music licensing consent decrees it had entered into separately with the two major American “performing rights organizations” (PROs)  —  the American Society of Composers, Authors, and…

  • Commentary posted November 29, 2016 by Alden Abbott Acting AAG’s Policy Speech Sends the Wrong Signals on Antitrust Enforcement (or “a Wild Ride Back to the Fifties and Sixties”)

    In a September 20 speech at the high profile Georgetown Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium, Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse sent the wrong signals to the business community and to foreign enforcers (see here) regarding U.S. antitrust policy.  Admittedly, a substantial part of her speech was a summary of existing U.S. antitrust doctrine.  In certain…

  • Commentary posted November 29, 2016 by Alden Abbott Patents as a Key to Commercialization: Guidance for Patent-Antitrust Analysis

    Public comments on the proposed revision to the joint U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust-IP Licensing Guidelines have, not surprisingly, focused primarily on fine points of antitrust analysis carried out by those two federal agencies (see, for example, the thoughtful recommendations by the Global Antitrust Institute, here). …

  • Commentary posted November 29, 2016 by Alden Abbott Global Antitrust Institute’s Comments on Draft DOJ-FTC IP Guidelines are on the Mark

    The Global Antitrust Institute (GAI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School released today a set of comments on the joint U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) – Federal Trade Commission (FTC) August 12 Proposed Update to their 1995 Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property (Proposed Update).  As has been the case with previous GAI filings…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2016 by Alden Abbott ICN Advocacy Workshop a Success

    On November 1st and 2nd, Cofece, the Mexican Competition Agency, hosted an International Competition Network (ICN) workshop on competition advocacy, featuring presentations from government agency officials, think tanks, and international organizations.  The workshop highlighted the excellent work that the ICN has done in supporting efforts to curb the most serious source…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2016 by Alden Abbott The FTC, not the FCC, Should Regulate Internet Privacy

    In an October 25 blog commentary posted at this site, Geoffrey Manne and Kristian Stout argued against a proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ban on the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in internet service providers’ consumer service agreements.  This proposed ban is just one among many unfortunate features in the latest misguided effort by the Federal…

  • Commentary posted November 13, 2016 by Alden Abbott The FTC’s PAE Study Recommendations: Case Not Proven

    On October 6, 2016, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued Patent Assertion Entity Activity: An FTC Study (PAE Study), its much-anticipated report on patent assertion entity (PAE) activity.  The PAE Study defined PAEs as follows: Patent assertion entities (PAEs) are businesses that acquire patents from third parties and seek to generate revenue by asserting them…

  • Commentary posted November 13, 2016 by Alden Abbott Copyright Office Chief's Dismissal Sends Bad Signal to Creatives

    Just a month and a week after being sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden abruptly removed Maria Pallante as head of the U.S. Copyright Office. It was the first firing of a Register of Copyrights in 119 years. Some commentators saw the dismissal as part of an effort by Silicon Valley firms and the Obama administration to weaken American copyright…

  • Commentary posted November 13, 2016 by Alden Abbott, Marc Santucci Down with the Tart Cherry Cartel

    Some Americans think the best way to run the economy is to appoint a few wise men and let them make the decisions. This applies not just to a few key sectors like running the Fed or ObamaCare. The notion percolates all the way down to tart cherries. Today, independent growers wishing to market tart cherries as they see fit are stymied by a government-backed, industry-run…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2016 by Alden Abbott The American Antitrust Institute Fruitlessly Searches for the Key to American Competitive Conditions Under the Antitrust Lamppost

    On September 28, the American Antitrust Institute released a report (“AAI Report”) on the state of U.S. antitrust policy, provocatively entitled “A National Competition Policy:  Unpacking the Problem of Declining Competition and Setting Priorities for Moving Forward.”  Although the AAI Report contains some valuable suggestions, in important ways it reminds one of the…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2016 by Alden Abbott FCC Disregard of the Rule of Law Requires Legislative Reform

    On October 6, the Heritage Foundation released a legal memorandum (authored by me) that recounts the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent sad history of ignoring the rule of law in its enforcement and regulatory actions.  The memorandum calls for a legislative reform agenda to rectify this problem by reining in the agency.  Key points culled from the…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2016 by Alden Abbott, Hans A. von Spakovsky A Win for Separation of Powers? Court Rules Against Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    It may turn out to be only a symbolic defeat for the Obama administration, but a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday struck down as unconstitutional the leadership structure of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), currently headed by Richard Cordray. Judge Brett Kavanaugh authored the opinion, and Senior…

  • Legal Memorandum posted October 27, 2016 by Alden Abbott The Federal Government’s Appropriate Role in Internet Privacy Regulation

    The Online Privacy Problem While the Internet-based economy provides many benefits, it also raises new concerns for maintaining the privacy of information. “Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data published via the Internet. It is a broad term that refers to a variety of factors, techniques and technologies used to protect sensitive and…

  • Commentary posted October 18, 2016 by Alden Abbott Time to Repeal the FTC’s Common Carrier Jurisdictional Exemption (Among Other Things)?

    Section 5(a)(2) of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act authorizes the FTC to “prevent persons, partnerships, or corporations, except . . . common carriers subject to the Acts to regulate commerce . . . from using unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.”  On August 29, in FTC v. AT&T, the…

  • Legal Memorandum posted October 6, 2016 by Alden Abbott Federal Communications Commission Reforms Needed to Promote the Rule of Law

    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a powerful, independent federal agency that “regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.”[1] In recent years, the FCC has been criticized both on substantive policy grounds (for example, because of…