The Authors Guild welcomes four antitrust bills recently introduced by House lawmakers to rein in the anticompetitive practices of large internet platforms such as Google and Amazon. The four bills along with the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act introduced by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) mark the most significant attempt yet towards vindicating the rights of users and competitors who have been powerless against the dominance of Big Tech.
The American Choice and Innovation Online Act introduced by Rep. Cicilline (D-RI) especially interests us as its provisions are most directly relevant to Amazon’s dominance over publishing and authorship. Following up on a letter we submitted to Rep. Ciclline and the House Antitrust Subcommittee last summer with American Association of Publishers and the American Booksellers Association as part of the committee’s investigation, the Authors Guild and several high profile authors spoke with Rep. Ciclline about Amazon’s anticompetitive practices, including giving preference to its own imprints on best-seller lists, charging high marketing fees for visibility, and extracting excessive discounts from publishers to undersell independent and small booksellers. We are pleased that his bill specifically addresses these kind of practices. If enacted, it could dramatically reshape the publishing industry for the better.
While we envision a tough fight ahead as the Big Tech will undoubtedly marshal their vast resources into defeating these bills, we will continue to push for aggressive antitrust regulation legislation to protect the needs of authors as the bills make their way through the legislative process.