Letter from the Editor – Fall 2012

In the Autumn 2012 issue of the CPI Journal, we are very pleased to present a Symposium on Tying (structured around the recent Brantley case), a Colloquium on Media Plurality, and a special article on the risks of excessive litigation for online platforms. Our Classic for this issue is Michael Whinston’s groundbreaking 1990 article.

The Tying Symposium includes reactions to the issues raised by the recent Brantley v. NBC Universal class action case that concerned bundling multi-channel packages in cable and satellite TV services. The Symposium begs the question: Have the economists and the lawyers gotten closer to an agreement surrounding vertical restraints or are these simply divergent views on an important antitrust conduct?

Dennis Carlton & Michael Waldman’s article looks at the current state of the economic theory of tying. They note that the Brantley decision is in line with economic theory, which stresses the importance of ensuring that no unambiguous reduction in social or consumer welfare be possible before discouraging tying behavior. In contrast, Peter Carstensen proposes a return to a traditional view of tying, where tying—while not necessarily per se illegal—should remain presumptively illegal unless a defendant can offer a legitimate justification for it. One of his arguments is that, as one of the prohibited conducts targeted by Congress in 1914, a presumption of illegality is a rational policy judgment.

Dan Crane then looks at the policy implica…

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