For your weekend reading, here’s an interesting article by Joseph Stiglitz in the New York Times: “Inequality is Not Inevitable.”
My fellow blogger Brian Rogers recently asked me to participate in a “blog hop.” This particular blog hop got rolling (hopping?) with a post by Bill Ellis. What’s a blog hop, you may ask? Well, I didn’t know either before this post, but the idea is that it’s a way to connect readers to other complementary blogs they might not otherwise discover on their own. At the end of this post, I’ll introduce you to some other bloggers who are going to continue hopping (as it were) and also provide some information on Brian, who wrote his hop post last week.
The topic of this blog hop is “Why I write.”
What am I working on?
In addition to monitoring recent cases for developments that may warrant a mention, I’m also planning to do some more in-depth, multi-part pieces (similar to a set last year that I did on patent licensing issues). Possible ideas include a treatment of various vertical restraints (exclusive dealing, resale price maintenance), California competition law issues, and issues involving the extraterritorial application of antitrust/competition law.
How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
I’ve tried hard to keep blog posts to a few hundred words or fewer. I’ve also tried to keep them pithy and interesting but also sufficiently informative. The biggest danger in legal blogging – and in particular, I think, with blogging about complex areas such as competition law – is TMI (too much information). I review statistics on what people read here, and they confirm that posts that are short, succinct, and have practical value are the ones that are most widely read (and presumably the most useful). I may not always live up to this standard . . . but it is what I try to do.
Why do I write what I write?
I started writing this blog for my own use – as a resource. But I’ve discovered that it’s a great way to tell people about competition law issues – which really are often fascinating. It’s also allowed me to “meet” (at least on the Internet) lots of folks who have a similar interest. Nowadays, I’m writing with an eye towards growing the blog’s readership further and to encourage debate and discussion both on the comments here and elsewhere. (I’m pleased to say that the blog readership — both on this webpage and in several other syndicated channels– typically is 5,000 to 10,000 a month.)
How does my process work?
Antitrust law is very active these days – particularly in California. There’s simply too much of it to cover everything, and I don’t try (there are better resources out there for instantaneous and comprehensive coverage). Instead, I try to look for one significant development each week that’s worth writing about. Some weeks, I’ll do a more substantive piece instead, or will do part of a multi-part posting on some issue that warrants even deeper explanation. Occasionally I’ll do a book or article review, or post something tangentially (but perhaps humorously) related to antitrust issues.
Please visit my blogging colleagues’ blogs
Finally, let me introduce you to some blogging colleagues and encourage you to visit their blogs, which are highly readable and make accessible even complicated topics. They’re also all on Twitter.
Brian (@_thecontractsguy) writes a blog at The Contracts Guy that discusses issues involving the legal aspects of contracts and the process of contracting. He’s also the founder of Blue Maven Law LLC, a new(ish) firm dedicated to bringing a new and innovative legal services approach to building businesses. Brian is of counsel at the St. Louis-based law firm Evans & Dixon, LLC.
Katie (@_katie_lane) writes a blog at Work Made for Hire. She used to work as in-house counsel for a company but is now a freelance attorney. She writes for an audience of freelancers and focuses on contracts and negotiation.
Jennifer (@JenniferMRomig) writes the Listen Like a Lawyer blog. She’s a legal writing consultant in Georgia. In her blog Jennifer explores the theory and practice of effective listening. She’s also a fan of checklists.
Adrian (@walters_adrian) writes The Walters Way blog. He’s a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago. His blog is a resource for law students and he tries to use it to connect students in a practical way to the law of contracts, bankruptcy, and business organizations.
I’m pleased to have spoken today to a group of law students at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law on the intersection of antitrust and IP law. It was nice to see an almost-full lecture hall — lots of interest in the topic.
On February 19, 2014, I’ll be speaking on hot topics at the intersection of antitrust and IP law. See this link for more information about the webinar.
I’m pleased to be speaking at the “Advanced Antitrust U.S.” Conference on February 6, 2014 in San Francisco. I’ll be speaking on “Antitrust and Intellectual Property,” along with my co-panelists, Dean Pinkert, U.S. International Trade Commissioner, Greg Sivinski, Assistant General Counsel Antitrust for Microsoft, and John Scribner of Weil.
FYI, I will be speaking on “Antitrust Issues in Intellectual Property Licensing Transactions” on November 6, 2013 at 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time. Here is a link to the webinar program. I will be covering the Nine “No-Nos” of antitrust/intellectual property licensing, which I’ve written about previously in this blog.
I think the award for most creative market definition (at least for 2013) has to go to the plaintiff in Between the Lines Productions, LLC v. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Case No. 13-cv-3584 (S.D.N.Y. May 30, 2013). There, the producers of a parody film called “Twiharder” recently filed suit against Lion Gate, the makers of, among other things, the popular Twilight movie series.
“Defendants’ anticompetitive conduct sets the benchmark example for why James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were apprehensive in the months leading up to the Philadelphia Convention about granting authors even limited copyright monopolies over their works,” Between the Lines writes in its complaint.
According to the (219!) page complaint, the defendants have sought to monopolize the “conversation” in “adjacent” or downstream markets, i.e., in markets downstream of the primary market “of original intention targeted to consumers of teen fantasy romance.” One of the downstream markets is the “Z Market,” defined as the market for the creation of novel works that are repulsed by the Twilight movies. Allegedly, defendants have achieved the monopolization of these “Fair Use Zones” through a highly oppressive intellectual property enforcement policy that uses sham cease and desist notices and a compendium of prohibited trademark / service mark registrations to chill speech and exclude all competition from the “Z Market.”
The complaint actually details five (!) different relevant antitrust markets and contains a full-page chart (at page 112) detailing them all.
The plaintiff seeks $375 million in damages for alleged breaches of federal antitrust laws.
Look, this is fun and creative. It illustrates nicely what happens when Hollywood bumps into antitrust law. But all I can say about these market definitions is: good luck with that. To the extent the plaintiff was hoping to get some publicity for its creativity, kudos.