Friday, March 29, 2002

KaZaa A Netherland judge overturned an earlier decision arguing that since KaZaa offered legitimate uses as well as unauthorized file sharing and had no central server, it was not liable for its users' illegal acts. But the lawyers don't seem so worried.

More of a concern to them is Judge Patel OK'ing antitrust investigations into the music cartel. Copyright, like any monopoly, harms society by creating dead weight loss. One way to reduce this, short of dismantling the monopoly, is to price discriminate, which reduces efficiency but also transfers consumer surplus to producers. The problem is that consumers seek surplus, so if you take it all away, they'll substitute something that gives them more. So merely transfering surplus is not enough, you also have to collude to eliminate all substitutes. And this is illegal under antitrust, but we all know what that's worth these days (the SSSCA also enforces collusion among hardware manufacturers, no one company could survive crippling its products alone).

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