The Archives

Everything written by Dirk Auer on law, economics, and more

Geo-Blocking: What is it Good For… A Surprising Amount, Actually.

The European Court of Justice issued its long-awaited ruling Dec. 9 in the Groupe Canal+ case. The case centered on licensing agreements in which Paramount Pictures granted absolute territorial exclusivity to several European broadcasters, including Canal+. Back in 2015, the European Commission charged six U.S. film studios, including Paramount,  as well as British broadcaster Sky ... Geo-Blocking: What is it Good For… A Surprising Amount, Actually.

What is a search engine?

What is a search engine? This might seem like an innocuous question, but it lies at the heart of the US Department of Justice and state Attorneys’ General antitrust complaint against Google, as well as the European Commission’s Google Search and Android decisions. It is also central to a report published by the UK’s Competition ... What is a search engine?

Regulating Big Tech Will Hurt Small Business

The writing is on the wall for Big Tech: regulation is coming. At least, that is what the House Judiciary Committee’s report into competition in digital markets would like us to believe.  The Subcommittee’s Majority members, led by Rhode Island’s Rep. David Cicilline, are calling for a complete overhaul of America’s antitrust and regulatory apparatus. ... Regulating Big Tech Will Hurt Small Business

In the Fight Against Qualcomm, Apple’s Loss is Apple’s Gain

Apple’s legal team will be relieved that “you reap what you sow” is just a proverb. After a long-running antitrust battle against Qualcomm unsurprisingly ended in failure, Apple now faces antitrust accusations of its own (most notably from Epic Games). Somewhat paradoxically, this turn of events might cause Apple to see its previous defeat in ... In the Fight Against Qualcomm, Apple’s Loss is Apple’s Gain

The Epic Flaws of Epic’s Antitrust Gambit

Much has already been said about the twin antitrust suits filed by Epic Games against Apple and Google. For those who are not familiar with the cases, the game developer – most famous for its hit title Fortnite and the “Unreal Engine” that underpins much of the game (and movie) industry – is complaining that ... The Epic Flaws of Epic’s Antitrust Gambit

The Deterioration of Appropriate Remedies in Patent Disputes

Property rights are a pillar of the free market. As Harold Demsetz famously argued, they spur specialization, investment and competition throughout the economy. And the same holds true for intellectual property rights (IPRs).  However, despite the many social benefits that have been attributed to intellectual property protection, the past decades have witnessed the birth and ... The Deterioration of Appropriate Remedies in Patent Disputes

On the Origin of Platforms: An Evolutionary Perspective

Hardly a day goes by without news of further competition-related intervention in the digital economy. The past couple of weeks alone have seen the European Commission announce various investigations into Apple’s App Store (here and here), as well as reaffirming its desire to regulate so-called “gatekeeper” platforms. Not to mention the CMA issuing its final ... On the Origin of Platforms: An Evolutionary Perspective

We Need to Talk About Privacy Absolutism

Privacy absolutism is the misguided belief that protecting citizens’ privacy supersedes all other policy goals, especially economic ones. This is a mistake. Privacy is one value among many, not an end in itself. Unfortunately, the absolutist worldview has filtered into policymaking and is beginning to have very real consequences. Readers need look no further than ... We Need to Talk About Privacy Absolutism

Flattening the Curve without Squashing Society: Market Responses to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way consumers shop and the way businesses sell. These shifts in behavior, designed to “flatten the curve” of infection through social distancing, are happening across many (if not all) markets. But in many cases, it’s impossible to know now whether these new habits are actually achieving the desired effect.  ... Flattening the Curve without Squashing Society: Market Responses to COVID-19

The Covidien/Newport Merger: Killer Acquisition or Just a Killer Story?

[TOTM: The following is part of a blog series by TOTM guests and authors on the law, economics, and policy of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The entire series of posts is available here. This post is authored by Geoffrey A. Manne, (President, ICLE; Distinguished Fellow, Northwestern University Center on Law, Business, and Economics); and Dirk Auer, (Senior Fellow ... The Covidien/Newport Merger: Killer Acquisition or Just a Killer Story?

What Has Big Tech Ever Done for Us? Part Two

[TOTM: The following is part of a blog series by TOTM guests and authors on the law, economics, and policy of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The entire series of posts is available here. This post is authored by Dirk Auer, (Senior Researcher, Liege Competition & Innovation Institute; Senior Fellow, ICLE).] Across the globe, millions of ... What Has Big Tech Ever Done for Us? Part Two

What Has Big Tech Ever Done for Us? Part I

[TOTM: The following is part of a blog series by TOTM guests and authors on the law, economics, and policy of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The entire series of posts is available here. This post is authored by Dirk Auer, (Senior Fellow of Law & Economics, International Center for Law & Economics).] Republican Senator Josh ... What Has Big Tech Ever Done for Us? Part I