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A new Guilded Age: Are old antitrust laws up to the task?

By Yves Faguy
July 23, 2014 at 17:27PM Le 23 July 2014 à 17:27PM

A Time Warner-21st Century Fox tie-up? Comcast. Google, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase. Harking back to the Gilded Age, Steven Davidoff Solomon thinks these are the new trusts, with a caveat:

These companies are not monopolies in the trustbusting sense, but many big industries in the United States are becoming dominated by just a select few.

Because these combinations may not reduce competition in the near term, they are likely to pass muster under antitrust laws originally passed to address the Gilded Age trusts. Under those rules, refined and amended over the past century, companies may merge so long as the combination would not substantially lessen competition.

This standard works to ensure that after the merger, consumers will still have a choice, and that the choice will be real. To be fair, the Obama administration has not been shy about challenging some transactions under this standard. Most prominently, the Justice Department blocked AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile, a move that would have shrunk the wireless market to three competitors.

But this test of competition is rooted in notions of how companies competed more than 100 years ago.

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Decriminalizing prostitution

By Yves Faguy
July 23, 2014 at 09:23AM Le 23 July 2014 à 09:23AM

Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes that by criminalizing the buying of sex, the Nordic model treats sex workers as if they were minors:

The Swedish model (also adopted by Iceland and Norway and under consideration in France, Canada and the UK) may seem like a step in the right direction—a progressive step, a feminist step. But it’s not. Conceptually, the system strips women of agency and autonomy. Under the Swedish model, men “are defined as morally superior to the woman,” notes author and former sex worker Maggie McNeill in an essay for the Cato Institute. “He is criminally culpable for his decisions, but she is not.” Adult women are legally unable to give consent, “just as an adolescent girl is in the crime of statutory rape.”

From a practical standpoint, criminalizing clients is just the flip side of the same old coin. It still focuses law enforcement efforts and siphons tax dollars toward fighting the sex trade. It still means arresting, fining and jailing people over consensual sex. If we really want to try something new—and something that has a real chance at decreasing violence against women—we should decriminalize prostitution altogether.

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CBA Futures chat: Lawyers learning to play with others, ctd

By Yves Faguy
July 23, 2014 at 08:46AM Le 23 July 2014 à 08:46AM

Reposted from the CBA Legal Futures blog.

No matter the sport – from soccer to debate club – a team will get nowhere if all its players are specialists in the same position.

But just as there’s no “I” in team, there’s no team in a law firm – not one that can, to stretch that sporting analogy just a little bit further, cover all the bases, so to speak. That is in part due to the regulatory framework under which lawyers work, of course.

Still, there is growing recognition that it might be helpful for lawyers to work in tandem with professionals such as accountants, real estate professionals, project management professionals, psychologists and others in order to provide their clients with a more holistic service, since legal needs rarely arise in a vacuum – there are quite often other related questions that need to be answered.

So when National Magazine’s Yves Faguy hosted the CBA Futures Initiative’s penultimate Twitter Chat on Tuesday – CBA President Fred Headon will host the last one just ahead of the release of the final report at the CBA Legal Conference in St. John’s in mid-August – his question was, “What will it take for lawyers to play better with others?”

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Soundcloud's copyright woes

By Brian John Capogrosso
July 22, 2014 at 16:38PM Le 22 July 2014 à 16:38PM

Soundcloud is a popular website/app amongst internet music lovers and artists worldwide, providing a platform for the uploading of music (and other forms of art) by artists and users alike to be shared with the Soundcloud community.  Developed in 2008, Soundcloud is recognized as an effective promotional tool, often compared to other similar websites/apps such as MySpace and YouTube.

Unfortunately, it also shares other less desirable similarities with such user driven media upload sites: an elevated potential for copyright infringement of third party rights.

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Khadr: The public’s right to know

By Kim Covert
July 22, 2014 at 15:27PM Le 22 July 2014 à 15:27PM

A number of Canadian media outlets are going to court today to argue that Correctional Services Canada is violating the public’s rights by refusing access to one of the country’s most notorious convicts.

Omar Khadr, now 27, has been incarcerated since he was 15 first in Afghanistan, then in Guantanamo Bay, and now in Canada. He has never been allowed to speak to the media. The Toronto Star, the CBC, and documentary producer White Pine Pictures say Correctional Services Canada is denying the public’s constitutionally guaranteed right to know by blocking access to Khadr, who is reportedly willing to speak with journalists.

For its part, CSC says “an interview would disrupt facilities and could put the safety of people involved at risk.”

In 2013, a prison warden granted The Canadian Press permission to interview Khadr, but then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews overruled the decision.

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