The Paramount Decrees: Lessons for the Future

19 Antitrust Source, no. 5, 2020, at 1.

Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 20-19

17 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2020

Date Written: April 22, 2020

Abstract

There are some striking similarities between the tech giants of the 21st century and the powerful Hollywood studios in the second quarter of the 20th century. In their respective eras, each group of companies symbolized the acquisition of economic power by innovative firms and inspired calls to use antitrust law to break up large corporations, deconcentrate the economy, and protect small businesses.

In their pursuit of growth, each group of companies harnessed efficiencies and acted aggressively to exclude competition. The studios developed supply chains for mass production and mass distribution of entertainment products. Their success devastated less efficient entertainment industries, such as the “legitimate theater,” vaudevilles, and nickelodeons. They also acted to eliminate competition from rivals in the motion picture industry. The tech giants developed digital platforms, whose success devastated brick-and-mortar industries. They have also acted to eliminate competition from other tech companies.

The studios were the target of the most ambitious campaign to reform markets through antitrust enforcement. The story of this campaign could benefit contemporary debates about the future of antitrust law, including assessments of antitrust policy in periods of rapid technological change, vertical arrangements, conspiracy inference, divestitures, and behavioral remedies. This paper summarizes this episode in antitrust history and lessons that it offers.

Keywords: antitrust, consent decrees, motion picture industry, remedies

Suggested Citation

Orbach, Barak, The Paramount Decrees: Lessons for the Future (April 22, 2020). 19 Antitrust Source, no. 5, 2020, at 1.; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 20-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3583020

Barak Orbach (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tuscon, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-7256 (Phone)
520.858.0025 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.orbach.org

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