Antitrust inquiry into Google Book Search

Law School Professor Keith Hylton, an antitrust-law expert, says the Department of Justice is smart to review Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book search service.  But what happens next, he says, is unclear.

“If the rumors of Google’s influence in the new administration are true, the firm is presumably better off with the book deal under the review of the Justice Department than under the FTC. The dangers appear to be speculative at this stage.

“Google should be expected to get some reward for its effort, and that is why monopolies are sometimes desirable in the short run. Perhaps the monopolization concerns could be allayed by treating this like a patent case in which the monopoly is allowed to exist unregulated for a limited period, after which the terms of the deal could be examined by the Justice Department.”

Contact Keith Hylton, 617-353-8959, knhylton@bu.edu

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