In ignoring the facts of the Three Tenors case and the transactions costs of legal rulemaking, Professor Goldberg would unnecessarily complicate antitrust law to the detriment of consumers. Contrary to his assertions, the FTC’s opinion does not favor ownership over contract. The parties could have chosen to coordinate Three Tenors products and promote a “brand,” but their contract explicitly provided otherwise. For a small class of cases – in which the parties restrain basic forms of competition such as price or advertising without a claim of consumer benefit – antitrust law avoids the costs of finding market power. In any event, the facts of the Three Tenors case provide a natural experiment revealing that the agreement the Commission proscribed in fact harmed consumers.


Law and Economics

Date of this Version

March 2005