U.S. antitrust chief comments on iPod, iTunes

The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust chief, Thomas O. Barnett, believes that Apple’s iTunes and iPod model doesn’t harm consumers, saying this week that European governments and regulators should take a hands-off approach when it comes to the company’s digital music duo. “Apple provides a useful illustration of how an attack on intellectual-property rights can threaten dynamic innovation,” Barnett said in a speech at the George Mason University School of Law Symposium. “Antitrust law protects competition, not competitors. There are real costs to using antitrust law to protect competitors rather than competition. There is the problem of deterring innovation by the target of the ‘dominance’ attack: If a firm knows it will have to share its intellectual property or be managed by a committee of government regulators, it may not innovate in the first instance.”

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