Do 1800s Antitrust Laws Apply in the E-Commerce Age?

16 February 2016 Publication
Author(s): Peter Vogel

E-Commerce Times

Laws usually are established after interpersonal or business activities collide with the real or perceived rights of others. After parties with different positions fight about who’s right and who’s wrong, legislatures create laws to solve the legal issues raised, and courts enforce them or create their own (Miranda rules, for example).

Many of the laws from the past, however, do not make sense when applied to e-commerce. From time to time, I write columns about various laws that don’t make as much sense as they did way back when. This column addresses antitrust laws that make sense when selling traditional goods, but fall short in the e-commerce environment.

First, a little history about antitrust laws. Back in the 1800s, the U.S. and state governments created antitrust laws because of the total control companies exerted over certain industries, such as railroads, oil, steel and sugar.

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