Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Applying traditional antitrust law to the modern world wide web could break the internet. Lina Khan, the FTC’s current chair, is pushing for enhanced antitrust enforcement to break up Big Tech, seemingly based on the assumption that antitrust law is the right tool for ensuring a free and equitable internet. This assumption may be in error, and this Article seeks to explain why. Antitrust doctrine originally developed from a law enacted 130 years ago to deal with monopolist “robber barons” like Standard Oil. Since 1890, the structure of markets has changed. Today’s information markets through the internet are much different from the railroad and oil markets of more than a century ago. This Article illuminates fundamental distinctions between commodities markets in the late 19th century and information markets in the mid-21st century so that lawyers, regulators, academics, and—most importantly—judges apply the doctrine correctly.

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