Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced a consent decree in the Staples-Essendant merger. Commissioners Slaughter and Chopra dissented, arguing the consent decree would be insufficient to address their competitive concerns with the merger.
Yesterday, reports surfaced that Facebook formed data-sharing partnerships with device makers, enabling companies like Amazon and Apple to access Facebook users’ and their friends’ data -- without those friends’ consent. Reports indicate that the shared data includes data pertaining to users who expressly denied Facebook permission to share their information with any third parties.
Today, the Department of Justice concluded its review of the antitrust consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI, the two largest music performance rights organizations (PROs) in the United States. After two years of extensive public comment and analysis, the Department has determined it would be inappropriate to amend the consent decrees in ways that would enable music publishers to take greater advantage of their market dominance in negotiating licenses. Additionally, it has clarified licensing practices that came to light during its review. Public Knowledge has advocated for the Department to adopt these positions throughout the review and welcomes the decision.
Reports now indicate that the Department of Justice has ended its lengthy process to amend the consent decrees governing music publishing in the United States by declining to make adjustments. If true, this would prevent music publishers from withdrawing digital public performance rights from the blanket licenses offered by the two largest performance rights organizations in the United States, ASCAP and BMI. Due to the threat to competition posed by such large concentrations in licensing authority, ASCAP and BMI operate under antitrust consent decrees that govern their licensing practices.