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Why More Antitrust Immunity for the Media is a Bad Idea

Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 105, p. 1399, 2011

University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 134

18 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2010 Last revised: 22 Feb 2012

Maurice E. Stucke

University of Tennessee College of Law; The Konkurrenz Group

Allen P. Grunes

The Konkurrenz Group

Date Written: November 17, 2010

Abstract

With their financial difficulties, some traditional media firms have called for greater leniency under the federal antitrust laws. The Federal Trade Commission, for example, in recent hearings inquired as to whether antitrust immunity is necessary for newspapers’ collaboration and under what circumstances, if any, antitrust immunity for certain joint conduct could be justified.

Our essay explores why relaxing the federal antitrust laws for traditional media will not help consumers or the marketplace of ideas. We discuss the past problems with antitrust immunity generally and for the media industries specifically. We address the failures of the Newspaper Preservation Act, how deregulation that followed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 failed to promote competition in the radio industry, and why further liberalizing the FCC’s cross-ownership rules to permit greater media consolidation will not promote competition in the marketplace of ideas.

We conclude that, because our democracy’s health depends on competition among traditional media, the cost of allowing already dominant firms to acquire the assets of their remaining competitors outweighs the benefits of looser antitrust laws.

Keywords: Media, Sherman Act, Newspaper Preservation Act, 1996 Telecommunications Act, Cross-ownership Rules, Antitrust Immunity

JEL Classification: A10, K21, L40, L82

Suggested Citation

Stucke, Maurice E. and Grunes, Allen P., Why More Antitrust Immunity for the Media is a Bad Idea (November 17, 2010). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 105, p. 1399, 2011; University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 134. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1710466

Maurice E. Stucke (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 W. Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865-974-9816 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.utk.edu/people/maurice-stucke/

The Konkurrenz Group ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States

Allen P. Grunes

The Konkurrenz Group ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States
202-644-9760 (Phone)

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