Amazon and AntiTrust – the Real Truth
All the anti-Amazon bashing that’s underway again vis a vis Authors United simply goes too far. As a lawyer, the latest AU letter is presumptuous and just a little insulting.
As a “law,” U.S. antitrust is really a conglomeration of federal and some state laws that seek to address cartels, lessened competition and prohibit either (1) the creation of a monopoly or (2) abuse of monopoly power. It’s the latter which the AU is holding up in its grievance.
The fact is, U.S. antitrust laws do not outlaw cartels, business competition, or monopolies. That’s right, a business that operates as a monopoly is not per se illegal. It is illegal only when it takes action that abuses monopoly power.
But what I’ve seen so far is akin to the guy who runs into the fire station and cries out, “Fire! Red! Hot! Falling roofs! People fleeing!” and the fire department asking, give us an address. Because that’s the crux of all the adjectives being flung about by AU: symptoms, maybe, but address, none. In other words, tell the DOJ the address of the abuse of monopoly power. The DOJ will want an abuser, a fact of abuse, a date, a place, etc., all the stuff that enables it to fight the fire. But “fire, red, hot, falling roofs, people fleeing”—those are not enough. Not if you are seeking warranted action.
Again, it’s just a little bit insulting that some would try to inflame action with adjectives. The DOJ lawyers are much better trained than that.