By Arnold Kling
Austan Goolsbee, one of the new members of the “Economic Scene” rotation at the New York Times (Tyler Cowen is another), writes
In their fervor to free listeners from the shackles of their iPods, French politicians have abandoned one of the guiding principles of antitrust economics: penalize companies that harm consumers, not the ones that succeed by building better products.
Apparently, the French National Assembly thinks that the code in the iPod ought to be open source, so to speak. They do not like it that Apple has created a monopoly.
If nothing else, what’s wrong this picture is that the real monopoly issue is with the music publishers. According to Goolsbee, their royalties are 65 cents, which would tend to put a pretty high floor under the price of a song.
If the French can figure out a way to break up the music publishing trust, then more power to them.