This information may be too late for Daniel Wallace (see our prior post). But, shlep wants to help the nonlawyer understand antitrust law, so that decisions about suing (or seeking legal assistance) will be better-informed and, more generally, so that members of the public can better evaluate the action (or inaction) of prosecutors and private litigants. Last week’s news that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has opened an investigation into “whether the Infectious Diseases Society of America has violated antitrust laws in setting new guidelines for diagnosing and treating Lyme disease” (Hartford Courant, Nov. 17, 2006; via Antitrust Review), suggests both that antitrust will often be clumsily used as a political panacea and that even prosectors should be brushing up on antitrust basics.
Our task is made much easier by a project that I put together for the American Antitrust Institute [AAI] a few years ago. It is a Guide to Antitrust Resources on the Web, that has annotated links to hundreds of online materials, searchable and presented in numerous categories, including:
- antitrust Primers and Overviews from a variety of sources and points of view
- federal (U.S.A.) antitrust statutes and regulations – Sherman, Clayton, Robinson-Patman, and more
- U.S. enforcement agencies and guidelines
- state antitrust resources
- antitrust exemptions: Parker/State-Action, Noerr-Pennington (seeking government aciton), Baseball, Business of Insurance, and more
- International Competition Resources, including: a) Competition Links Worldwide: links to National Competition Authorities, compiled by UNCTAD; National Competition Legislation: Compiled by UNCTAD, this is a growing list of links to English versions of laws for the protection of competition in various nations, including Bulgaria, Chile, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Lithuania, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Zambia, Zimbabwe; and c) materials on specific Regions and Countries
To keep up on antitrust issues in the news, we suggest: a) The daily posting on antitrust news, scholarship and opinion by Crane, Fischer, Kaiser & Gabriel at the Antitrust Review Weblog, and by Prof. Ghosh at his AntitrustProf Blog (update: Prof. Ghosh has been joined by Prof. D. Daniel Sokol and renamed the site Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog). b) Quarterly expert analysis on current issues from The Antitrust Source, an online publication from the American Bar Association’s Section on Antitrust. c) Sheppard Mullin’s monthly newsletter editions at its Antitrust Law Blog. And, d) the AAI homepage, where you can keep abreast of its many advocacy initiatives and educational projects and publications.
For intellectual and historical background, you might want to read about The Factions of Antitrust. There are four major schools of thought in the United States concerning the relationship between government and economic markets, resulting in four corresponding approaches to the role of antitrust and competition policy. From political “right” to “left”, they are: Libertarian, Neoclassical (“Chicago”), Post-Chicago, and Populist. As is suggested in recent postings at the Antitrust Review weblog and Truth on the Market, the “Chicago School” has won most of the important debates in antitrust law — in academia and the courts – over the past couple of decades.
update (Nov. 25, 2006): A listing at ConsumerWorld’s Legal Resources page reminded us that Prof. Anthony D. Becker of St. Olaf College has put together the The Antitrust Case Browser, which has links to case summaries for all U.S. Supreme Court antitrust cases, arranged alphabetically, chronologically and by subject and industry. It also has links to statutes and other antitrust resources.
update (Feb. 14, 2007): Prof. D. Daniel Sokol at the Antitrust & Competition Policy weblog has posted today on What are the Best Souces for Antitrust/Competition Policy News?
One that Oscar Forgot (update, Feb. 26, 2007): Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony apparently overlooked a real contender in the Short-form documentary category. Russel Mokhibor wrote a glowing review of Fair Fight in the Marketplace in the Feb. 21, 2007 edition of Corporate Crime Reporter. Mokhibor is impressed (and surprised) that a 30-minute primer on antitrust could be so interesting and informative. The review notes that “The movie, narrated by National Public Radio’s Mara Liasson, traces the history of the antitrust laws – and keeps it interesting for young people with cartoon depictions of price fixing and television clips of kids competing.” The English-language film will have Spanish and Mandarin subtitles (the review has an interesting explanation for the Mandarin). There’s even a special edition with commentary for high schoolers. The reviewer also gushes that:
“[T]he film actually becomes gripping educational television – am I losing my bearings here? – when it profiles the Mylan Labs, ADM and Microsoft cases.”
Perhaps the film, which is the brainchild of Bert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute, will be eligible for an Oscar next year, as it will have its broadcast premiere on PBS in April. You can see it online at any time here.