Dominant Search Engines: An Essential Cultural & Political Facility

THE NEXT DIGITAL DECADE, ESSAYS ON THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET, Chapter 7, p. 401, Berin Szoka, Adam Marcus, eds., TechFreedom, Washington, D.C., 2010

Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 2010-27

20 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2011  

Frank A. Pasquale III

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

Date Written: January 15, 2011

Abstract

When American lawyers talk about "essential facilities," they are usually referring to antitrust doctrine that has required certain platforms to provide access on fair and nondiscriminatory terms to all comers. Some have recently characterized Google as an essential facility. Antitrust law may shape the search engine industry in positive ways. However, scholars and activists must move beyond the crabbed vocabulary of competition policy to develop a richer normative critique of search engine dominance.

In this chapter, I sketch a new concept of "essential cultural and political facility," which can help policymakers recognize and address situations where a bottleneck has become important enough that special scrutiny is warranted. This scrutiny may not always culminate in regulation. However, it clearly suggests a need for publicly funded alternatives to the concentrated conduits and content providers colonizing the web.

Keywords: search engines, essential facilities, antitrust,doctrine, Google, dominance

Suggested Citation

Pasquale, Frank A., Dominant Search Engines: An Essential Cultural & Political Facility (January 15, 2011). THE NEXT DIGITAL DECADE, ESSAYS ON THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET, Chapter 7, p. 401, Berin Szoka, Adam Marcus, eds., TechFreedom, Washington, D.C., 2010; Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 2010-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1762241 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1762241

Frank A. Pasquale III (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States
410-706-4820 (Phone)
410-706-0407 (Fax)

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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