Volume 38 (2015) / Issue 3
Beyond regulating markets, competition law also has a political dimension. This is especially the case in media markets, where competition policy may produce particular trade-offs for the development of democracy. Yet it is a different question whether competition law enforcement should take democracy into account as a goal and, even more so, whether this goal should influence the analytical framework for applying competition law. By putting a focus on emerging and developing economies, this article answers this question in the affirmative. It thereby builds on a recent study conducted for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the application of competition laws around the world to copyright-related markets. Whereas, in the past, the interface of competition law and democracy was mostly discussed with regard to media mergers, an analysis of some unilateral conduct cases shows that the ‘democratic goal’ can argue either for or against intervention. Yet promoting the goal of democracy will not conflict with an economics-based analysis of competition law if, following an evolutionary concept of competition, enforcers promote diversity of content and ideas in copyright-related media markets. In addition, the article highlights the need of independent agencies to guarantee credibility of competition law enforcement in media markets.
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