I seldom write a post that is just a link to someone else’s work, but I am afraid that non-specialists, especially in the U.S., may not regularly read the blog of Canadian law professor Ariel Katz.  And this post about the GSU case deserves widespread attention.  Katz does a wonderful job of pointing us to the real motive in the lawsuit — to force colleges and universities to purchase licenses with the Copyright Clearance Center.  This, he suggests, is an alternative to each publisher raising its own prices even further than they already have, and he sees in such an attempt a form of collusion amongst publishers to forcibly fix prices at a level higher than the competitive market, left to its own devices without judicial intervention, would bear. Katz’s conclusion is that the Department of Justice, which suggested that it might intervene in the case on the side of the publishers, should really intervene on the side of the defendant in order to prevent what Katz argues is an illegal attempt to fix prices.  He neatly compares the CCC to the so-called “patent pools” which were dismantled years ago using anti-trust laws, and  to the DoJ’s own recent efforts to prevent price-fixing in the eBook market.  For consistency, he argues, the DoJ should pursue the same path against the efforts that publishers are making in the GSU lawsuit.

 

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