Last week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen co-wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post entitled “No, Republicans didn’t just strip away your Internet privacy rights.” The team at Public Knowledge was troubled by the misinformation laid out in this op-ed. Issues like broadband privacy and net neutrality have serious long-term consequences, so we felt it was important to correct the record.
Universal Music Group's takeover of
competitor EMI, along with the sale of EMI's music publishing business to Sony,
have the potential to thwart innovation in digital music, drive up prices and
minimize choices for consumers, Public Knowledge and Media Access Project told
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today.
In a letter to the agency, the two groups
noted that the purchase would reduce the number of major record labels from
four to three, giving the combined UMG/EMI company about 40 percent of
sales. Similarly, the sale of the
music publishing business would "give it a significant blocking
position" by allowing it to control 32 percent of publishing revenues
worldwide. A combined company
would hold publishing rights to 64 of the Billboard Hot 100 titles from 2011,
the groups said.
On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission held the last of a yearlong series of workshops on the future of journalism. The conversation centered on the staff discussion draft of potential policy recommendations, released late last month. As I explained in my earlier post on the draft, it contains a few troubling suggestions regarding intellectual property law. To warn the FTC of the consequences of these potential recommendations, PK’s own Sherwin Siy spoke at the workshop. Additionally, we submitted written comments to the FTC, which you can read here.
Although the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) has not confirmed it, the Wall St. Journal reported that DOJ is internally considering whether or not companies "such as AT&T and Verizon" have abused their market power. Most traditional antitrust lawyers I've seen quoted don't think it likely the telcos have market power -- especially given the hostility that courts have recently shown to antitrust. Indeed, in a world where even potential competition is supposed to be part of the market analysis, how can a modest 60% of the wireless market shared by the two companies, with no evidence of price fixing or coordinated behavior, support any sort of antitrust action?
Welcome to the more grown up and sophisticated view of market power in the more complex real world.
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