Public Knowledge Launches Decoding Antitrust Law: A Primer for Advocates

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Today, Public Knowledge launches “Decoding Antitrust Law: A Primer for Advocates,” a new guide to antitrust law by Public Knowledge Competition Policy Counsel Charlotte Slaiman. The primer provides a basic foundation in antitrust law for policy advocates new to antitrust law, curious consumers, budding legal scholars, and anyone intrigued by what antitrust law is and how it can and can not be applied to address corporate concentration and increase competition.

The goal of this primer is to help advocates and consumers educate themselves about antitrust law and to explain how they can best help to hold companies accountable for anticompetitive behavior. The primer opens with a short history of antitrust law before taking a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts of the law itself and illustrating some of its limitations. The primer concludes by outlining steps that concerned citizens can take to help ensure that antitrust law is being aggressively enforced, as well as how we as a society can promote competition through other policy tools.

As the author explains, “Antitrust is a powerful legal tool, but just one of many legal and regulatory approaches that promote competition, innovation, diversity, choice, and fair pricing. People often see businesses behaving in ways they don’t like, but we cannot assume this must be an antitrust violation. Many business activities that appear to be anticompetitive, harmful, or even monopolistic are not violations of antitrust law. If we think a company’s behavior is harmful to the survival of local small businesses, but it doesn’t violate the antitrust laws, we need to apply the appropriate existing law, or advocate for new laws that protect or promote local businesses.”

The following can be attributed to Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“People recognize that corporate power is influencing more and more of our daily lives, and often not for the better. Antitrust law is an important tool we can use to limit corporate concentration and address misbehavior by companies with excessive power. At the same time, it’s a complex area of the law whose limits are not always clear and doctrines often intimidating to apply.

“We need more advocates to understand the basics of antitrust law and join in the conversation about antitrust’s future. We’re also hopeful that advocates with other expertise will benefit from learning about what antitrust can and cannot do. Antitrust alone cannot solve the problem of corporate power. Understanding how this tool works, and when other tools are needed, is an important part of our advocacy.”

You may view the primer here.

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