The morning after this year’s Oscar’s Ceremony, I opined that the Academy had “overlooked a real contender in the Short-form documentary category,” the antitrust primer Fair Fight in the Marketplace. The video was produced by the American Antitrust Institute and funded with a cy pres award from the California Vitamin Cases Consumer Settlement Fund. My assertion was partially based on a glowing review in Corporate Crime Reporter (Feb. 21, 2007). Tonight, our assessment seems validated, as AAI was notified on Monday that Fair Fight in the Marketplace has won a Silver Telly Award for 2007. As explained at the Telly Awards website:
“For over a quarter century, the Telly statuette has been a symbol of creative excellence.”
The Telly Awards honor the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. Since 1978, our mission has been to strengthen the visual arts community by inspiring, promoting, and supporting creativity.
The Silver Telly is the highest honor.
Fair Fight is narrated by NPR’s Marra Liasson. Corporate Crime Reporter called the 30-minute video informative, entertaining and “gripping educational television.” There’s even a special edition with commentary for high schoolers.
As explained in “Antitrust the Video” (f/k/a, Feb. 10, 2005), an award of $496,000 was granted to the American Antitrust Institute to educate California consumers and businesses about the benefits of the antitrust laws by producing an educational video on the history, purpose and benefits of the antitrust laws. The award came from the Vitamin Cases Consumer Settlement Fund (Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4076 Master File No. 301803, San Francisco County; approved September 8, 2004). The case was brought by the State of California and private plaintiffs under antitrust law, alleging that consumers were harmed by a price-fixing scheme of the vitamin manufacturers.
Two years ago, Walter Olson criticized the cy pres award that funded Fair Fight, in a posting at Point of Law titled Litigation slush funds: Calif. propagandizes for antitrust (Just last month, his co-editor Ted Frank criticized cy pres awards in general in the posting The Trouble with cy pres, saying the awards go to causes that ”are often allies of the trial bar, thus encouraging more litigation down the line”.) Below the fold, you can read an excerpt from my defense of the award to AAI at my weblog f/k/a. Click here to read an explanation of the cy pres award concept from The Impact Fund.
Fair Fight in the Marketplace can be viewed online at any time here. It is scheduled to appear on a number of PBS stations in California starting April 1st. Right now, PBS stations across the nation are considering whether to air the video. Please contact your local PBS affiliate today and tell them you’d like to see Fair Fight in the Marketplace on the air in your community.
Helping the public understand how antitrust policy and enforcement works to assure competition in the marketplace — and why that is important to consumers and businesses — seems like a good use of this cy pres fund. It’s fairly innocuous — except to the fringe who want all antitrust laws revoked. I’d be surprised if Walter [Olson] were among those radicals. I’ve known the AAI’s Bert Foer for almost two decades, and I trust him when he says ”Our film and materials will be objectively presented, colorful and provocative” (AAI press release, Feb. 10, 2005).
A public that understands the issues better may choose to expand antitrust enforcement — or to rein it in. Making those choices while informed about the issues seems like something Walter would applaud — unless he just has an axe to grind or an ox he’s trying to protect.