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An Unsung Success Story: A Forty-Year Retrospective On U.S. Communications Policy, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2017

An Unsung Success Story: A Forty-Year Retrospective On U.S. Communications Policy, Christopher S. Yoo

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Looking backwards on the occasion of Telecommunications Policy’s fortieth anniversary reveals just how far U.S. communications policy has come. All of the major challenges of 1976, such as promoting competition in customer premises equipment, long distance, and television networking, have largely been overcome. Moreover, new issues that emerged later, such as competition in local telephone service and multichannel video program distribution, have also largely been solved. More often than not, the solution has been the result of structural changes that enhanced facilities-based competition rather than agency-imposed behavioral requirements. Moreover, close inspection reveals that in most cases, prodding by the courts …


Antitrust Policy And Inequality Of Wealth, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2017

Antitrust Policy And Inequality Of Wealth, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Why would anyone want to use antitrust law as a wealth distribution device when far more explicit statutory tools are available for that purpose? One feature of antitrust is its open-textured, nonspecific statutes that are interpreted by judges. As a result, using antitrust to redistribute wealth may be a way of invoking the judicial process without having to go to Congress or a state legislature that is likely to be unsympathetic. Of course, a corollary is that someone attempting to use antitrust law to redistribute wealth will have to rely on the existing antitrust statutes rather than obtaining a new …


Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min Aug 2017

Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min

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Recently, courts have embraced the contractarian theory that corporate charters and bylaws constitute a “contract” between the shareholders and the corporation and have been more willing to uphold bylaws unilaterally adopted by the directors. This paper examines the contractarian theory by drawing a parallel between amending charters and bylaws, on the one hand, and amending contracts, on the other. In particular, the paper compares the right to unilaterally amend corporate bylaws with the right to unilaterally modify contract terms, and highlights how contract law imposes various limitations on the modifying party’s discretion. More generally, when the relationship of contracting parties …


The Tax Treatment Of Tokens: What Does It Betoken?, David J. Shakow Aug 2017

The Tax Treatment Of Tokens: What Does It Betoken?, David J. Shakow

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Digital tokens have been used to raise substantial amounts of money. But little attention has been paid to the tax consequences surrounding their issuance and sale. There are significant potential tax liabilities lurking in the use of digital tokens. But, because of the anonymity inherent in the blockchain structures used for the issuance of tokens and payments for them, there is a significant question as to whether those tax liabilities will ever be collected.


The Ncaa And The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2017

The Ncaa And The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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This brief essay considers the use of antitrust’s rule of reason in assessing challenges to rule making by the NCAA. In particular, it looks at the O’Bannon case, which involved challenges to NCAA rules limiting the compensation of student athletes under the NCAA rubric that protects the “amateur” status of collegiate athletes. Within that rubric, the Ninth Circuit got the right answer.

That outcome leads to a broader question, however: should the NCAA’s long held goal, frequently supported by the courts, of preserving athletic amateurism be jettisoned? Given the dual role that colleges play, that is a complex question, raising …


Regulating By Robot: Administrative Decision Making In The Machine-Learning Era, Cary Coglianese, David Lehr Jun 2017

Regulating By Robot: Administrative Decision Making In The Machine-Learning Era, Cary Coglianese, David Lehr

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Machine-learning algorithms are transforming large segments of the economy, underlying everything from product marketing by online retailers to personalized search engines, and from advanced medical imaging to the software in self-driving cars. As machine learning’s use has expanded across all facets of society, anxiety has emerged about the intrusion of algorithmic machines into facets of life previously dependent on human judgment. Alarm bells sounding over the diffusion of artificial intelligence throughout the private sector only portend greater anxiety about digital robots replacing humans in the governmental sphere. A few administrative agencies have already begun to adopt this technology, while others …


The Inevitability And Ubiquity Of Cycling In All Feasible Legal Regimes: A Formal Proof, Leo Katz, Alvaro Sandroni Jun 2017

The Inevitability And Ubiquity Of Cycling In All Feasible Legal Regimes: A Formal Proof, Leo Katz, Alvaro Sandroni

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Intransitive choices, or cycling, are generally held to be the mark of irrationality. When a set of rules engenders such choices, it is usually held to be irrational and in need of reform. In this article, we prove a series of theorems, demonstrating that all feasible legal regimes are going to be rife with cycling. Our first result, the legal cycling theorem, shows that unless a legal system meets some extremely restrictive conditions, it will lead to cycling. The discussion that follows, along with our second result, the combination theorem, shows exactly why these conditions are almost impossible to meet. …


Taxation, Competitiveness, And Inversions: A Response To Kleinbard, Michael S. Knoll May 2017

Taxation, Competitiveness, And Inversions: A Response To Kleinbard, Michael S. Knoll

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In this report, I argue that the inversion situation is more nuanced, complex, and ambiguous than Edward D. Kleinbard acknowledges, and I challenge Kleinbard’s claim that U.S. multinationals are on a tax par with their foreign competitors.


Error Costs, Legal Standards Of Proof And Statistical Significance, Michelle Burtis, Jonah B. Gelbach, Bruce H. Kobayashi Apr 2017

Error Costs, Legal Standards Of Proof And Statistical Significance, Michelle Burtis, Jonah B. Gelbach, Bruce H. Kobayashi

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The relationship between legal standards of proof and thresholds of statistical significance is a well-known and studied phenomena in the academic literature. Moreover, the distinction between the two has been recognized in law. For example, in Matrix v. Siracusano, the Court unanimously rejected the petitioner’s argument that the issue of materiality in a securities class action can be defined by the presence or absence of a statistically significant effect. However, in other contexts, thresholds based on fixed significance levels imported from academic settings continue to be used as a legal standard of proof. Our positive analysis demonstrates how a …


Perfectly Frank: A Reflection On Quality Lawyering In Honor Of R. Franklin Balotti, Leo E. Strine Jr., James J. Hanks Jr., John F. Olson, A. Gilchrist Sparks, E. Norman Veasey, Gregory P. Williams Apr 2017

Perfectly Frank: A Reflection On Quality Lawyering In Honor Of R. Franklin Balotti, Leo E. Strine Jr., James J. Hanks Jr., John F. Olson, A. Gilchrist Sparks, E. Norman Veasey, Gregory P. Williams

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This essay honoring the late R. Franklin Balotti focuses upon certain of the key attributes necessary to practice business law effectively and ethically. Among these attributes are a strong work ethic, the integrity to stand behind your own advice and candidly admit when things do not go according to plan, empathy for how others will view your client’s actions and the ability to communicate that perception to your client, the confidence to change the pace of a transaction when a slow down or time out is warranted, and the ability to have some fun and laugh (even at yourself). Perhaps …


Who Bleeds When The Wolves Bite? A Flesh-And-Blood Perspective On Hedge Fund Activism And Our Strange Corporate Governance System, Leo E. Strine Jr. Apr 2017

Who Bleeds When The Wolves Bite? A Flesh-And-Blood Perspective On Hedge Fund Activism And Our Strange Corporate Governance System, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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This paper examines the effects of hedge fund activism and so-called wolf pack activity on the ordinary human beings—the human investors—who fund our capital markets but who, as indirect of owners of corporate equity, have only limited direct power to ensure that the capital they contribute is deployed to serve their welfare and in turn the broader social good.

Most human investors in fact depend much more on their labor than on their equity for their wealth and therefore care deeply about whether our corporate governance system creates incentives for corporations to create and sustain jobs for them. And because …


The Limits Of Performance-Based Regulation, Cary Coglianese Apr 2017

The Limits Of Performance-Based Regulation, Cary Coglianese

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Performance-based regulation is widely heralded as a superior approach to regulation. Rather than specifying the actions regulated entities must take, performance-based regulation instead requires the attainment of outcomes and gives flexibility in how to meet them. Despite nearly universal acclaim for performance-based regulation, the reasons supporting its use remain largely theoretical and conjectural. Owing in part to a lack of a clear conceptual taxonomy, researchers have yet to produce much empirical research documenting the strengths and weaknesses of performance-based regulation. In this Article, I provide a much-needed conceptual framework for understanding and assessing performance-based regulation. After defining performance-based regulation and …


In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue Jan 2017

In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue

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For most non-contractual legal claims for damages that are brought against individuals or firms, there is some form of liability insurance coverage. The Restatement of the Law Liability Insurance is the American Law Institute’s first effort to “restate” the common law governing such liability insurance policies, and we are the reporters. In a recent essay funded by the insurance industry, Yale Law Professor George Priest launched a strident critique of the Restatement project, arguing that the rules adopted in the Restatement:

(a) are radically contrary to existing case law,

(b) have a naïve “pro-policyholder” bias that ignores basic economic insights …


Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2017

Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

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Top law firms are notoriously competitive, fighting for prime clients and matters. But some of the most elite firms are also deeply cooperative, willingly sharing key details about their finances and strategy with their rivals. More surprisingly, they pay handsomely to do so. Nearly half of the AmLaw 100 and 200 belong to mutual insurance organizations that require member firms to provide capital; partner time; and important information about their governance, balance sheets, risk management, strategic plans, and malpractice liability. To answer why these firms do so when there are commercial insurers willing to provide coverage with fewer burdens, we …


Bankruptcy On The Side, Kenneth Ayotte, Anthony J. Casey, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

Bankruptcy On The Side, Kenneth Ayotte, Anthony J. Casey, David A. Skeel Jr.

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This article provides a framework for analyzing side agreements in corporate bankruptcy, such as intercreditor and “bad boy” agreements. These agreements are controversial because they commonly include a promise by one party to remain silent – to waive some procedural right they would otherwise have under the Bankruptcy Code – at potentially crucial points in the reorganization process.

Using simplified examples, we show that side agreements create benefits in some instances, but parties to a side agreement may have incentive to contract for specific performance or excessive stipulated damages that impose negative externalities on non-parties to the agreement. A promise …


Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose Ii: An Encouragement For Future Consideration From Professors Johnson And Millon, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2017

Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose Ii: An Encouragement For Future Consideration From Professors Johnson And Millon, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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This paper is the second in a series considering the argument that corporate laws that give only rights to stockholders somehow implicitly empower directors to regard other constituencies as equal ends in governance. This piece was written as part of a symposium honoring the outstanding work of Professors Lyman Johnson and David Millon, and it seeks to encourage Professors Johnson and Millon, as proponents of the view that corporations have no duty to make stockholder welfare the end of corporate law, to focus on the reality that corporate power translates into corporate purpose.

Drawing on examples of controlled companies that …


Appraising The Progressive State, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising The Progressive State, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Since it origins in the late nineteenth century, the most salient characteristics of the progressive state have been marginalism in economics, greatly increased use of scientific theory and data in policy making, a commitment to broad participation in both economic and political markets, and a belief that resources are best moved through society by many institutions in addition to traditional markets.. These values have served to make progressive policy less stable than classical and other more laissez faire alternatives. However, the progressive state has also performed better than alternatives by every economic measure. One of the progressive state’s biggest vulnerabilities …


The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton Jan 2017

The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton

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A half century ago, corporate legal theory pursued an institutional vision in which corporations and the law that creates them protect people from the ravages of volatile free markets. That vision was challenged on the ground during the 1980s, when corporate legal institutions and market forces came to blows over questions concerning hostile takeovers. By 1990, it seemed like the institutions had won. But a different picture has emerged as the years have gone by. It is now clear that the market side really won the battle of the 1980s, succeeding in entering a wedge between corporate law and social …


Immovable-Associated Equipment Under The Draft Mac Protocol: A Sui Generis Challenge For The Cape Town Convention, Benjamin Von Bodungen, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2017

Immovable-Associated Equipment Under The Draft Mac Protocol: A Sui Generis Challenge For The Cape Town Convention, Benjamin Von Bodungen, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

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UNIDROIT is in the process of adopting a fourth Protocol under the umbrella of the Cape Town Convention, the MAC Protocol, which will cover mining, agricultural and construction equipment. This article addresses a challenge faced by the MAC Protocol that was not encountered in the development of the previous Protocols - the potential for MAC equipment to be associated with immovable property in ways that result in the holder of an interest in the immovable property acquiring an interest in the associated MAC equipment under the law of the State in which the immovable property is located. The article first …


The Economic Foundation Of The Dormant Commerce Clause, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason Jan 2017

The Economic Foundation Of The Dormant Commerce Clause, Michael S. Knoll, Ruth Mason

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Last Term, a sharply divided Supreme Court decided a landmark dormant Commerce Clause case, Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne. Wynne represents the Court’s first clear acknowledgement of the economic underpinnings of one of its main doctrinal tools for resolving tax discrimination cases, the internal consistency test. In deciding Wynne, the Court relied on economic analysis we provided. This Essay explains that analysis, why the majority accepted it, why the dissenters’ objections to the majority’s reasoning miss their mark, and what Wynne means for state taxation. Essential to our analysis and the Court’s decision in Wynne …


Risk And Regulatory Calibration: Wto Compliance Review Of The U.S. Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling Regime, Cary Coglianese, André Sapir Jan 2017

Risk And Regulatory Calibration: Wto Compliance Review Of The U.S. Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling Regime, Cary Coglianese, André Sapir

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In a series of recent disputes arising under the TBT Agreement, the Appellate Body has interpreted Article 2.1 to provide that discriminatory and trade-distortive regulation could be permissible if based upon a “legitimate regulatory distinction.” In its recent compliance decision in the US-Tuna II dispute, the AB reaffirmed its view that regulatory distinctions embedded in the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna labeling regime were not legitimate because they were not sufficiently calibrated to the risks to dolphins associated with different tuna fishing conditions. This paper analyzes the AB’s application of the notion of risk-based regulation in the US-Tuna II dispute and finds …


The Law Of The Test: Performance-Based Regulation And Diesel Emissions Control, Cary Coglianese, Jennifer Nash Jan 2017

The Law Of The Test: Performance-Based Regulation And Diesel Emissions Control, Cary Coglianese, Jennifer Nash

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The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal of 2015 not only pushed that company’s stock and retail sales into freefall, but also raised serious questions about the efficacy of existing regulatory controls. The same furtive actions taken by Volkswagen had been taken nearly twenty years earlier by other firms in the diesel industry. In that previous scandal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that diesel truck engine manufacturers had, like Volkswagen would later do, programmed on-board computers to calibrate their engines one way to satisfy the required emissions test. Those manufacturers had also programmed the on-board computers to re-calibrate the engines …


Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose I: Evidence From My Hometown, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2017

Corporate Power Is Corporate Purpose I: Evidence From My Hometown, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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This paper is the first in a series considering a rather tired argument in corporate governance circles, that corporate laws that give only rights to stockholders somehow implicitly empower directors to regard other constituencies as equal ends in governance. By continuing to suggest that corporate boards themselves are empowered to treat the best interests of other corporate constituencies as ends in themselves, no less important than stockholders, scholars and commentators obscure the need for legal protections for other constituencies and for other legal reforms that give these constituencies the means to more effectively protect themselves.

Using recent events in the …


Partial Takings, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2017

Partial Takings, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

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Partial takings allow the government to expropriate the parts of an asset it needs, leaving the owner the remainder. Both vital and common, partial takings present unique challenges to the standard rules of eminent domain. Partial takings may result in the creation of suboptimal, and even unusable, parcels. Additionally, partial takings create assessment problems that do not arise when parcels are taken as a whole. Finally, partial takings engender opportunities for inefficient strategic behavior on the part of the government after the partial taking has been carried out. Current jurisprudence fails to resolve these problems and can even exacerbate them. …


Buying Monopoly: Antitrust Limits On Damages For Externally Acquired Patents, Erik N. Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Buying Monopoly: Antitrust Limits On Damages For Externally Acquired Patents, Erik N. Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The “monopoly” authorized by the Patent Act refers to the exclusionary power of individual patents. That is not the same thing as the acquisition of individual patent rights into portfolios that dominate a market, something that the Patent Act never justifies and that the antitrust laws rightfully prohibit.

Most patent assignments are procompetitive and serve to promote the efficient commercialization of patented inventions. However, patent acquisitions may also be used to combine substitute patents from external patentees, giving the acquirer an unearned monopoly position in the relevant technology market. A producer requires only one of the substitutes, but by acquiring …


Clean Electrification, Shelley Welton Jan 2017

Clean Electrification, Shelley Welton

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To combat climate change, many leading states have adopted the aim of creating a “participatory” grid. In this new model, electricity is priced based on time of consumption and carbon content, and consumers are encouraged to adjust their behavior and adopt new technologies to maintain affordable electricity. Although a more participatory grid is an important component of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, it also raises a new problem of clean energy justice: utilities and consumer advocates claim that such policies unjustly benefit the rich at the expense of the poor, given the type of consumer best able to participate in the …


The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2017

The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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Although assent is the doctrinal and theoretical hallmark of contract, its relevance for form contracts has been drastically undermined by the overwhelming evidence that no one reads standard terms. Until now, most political and academic discussions of this phenomenon have acknowledged the truth of universally unread contracts, but have assumed that even unread terms are at best potentially helpful, and at worst harmless. This Article makes the empirical case that unread terms are not a neutral part of American commerce; instead, the mere fact of fine print inhibits reasonable challenges to unfair deals. The experimental study reported here tests the …


Standing Voting Instructions: Empowering The Excluded Retail Investor, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2017

Standing Voting Instructions: Empowering The Excluded Retail Investor, Jill E. Fisch

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Despite the increasing importance of shareholder voting, regulators have paid little attention to the rights of retail investors who own approximately 30% of publicly traded companies but who vote less than 30% of their shares. A substantial factor contributing to this low turnout is the antiquated mechanism by which retail investors vote. The federal proxy voting rules place primary responsibility for facilitating retail voting in the hands of custodial brokers who have limited incentives to develop workable procedures, and current regulatory restrictions impede market-based innovation that incorporate technological innovations.

One of the most promising such innovations is standing voting instructions …


Choice-Of-Law Rules For Secured Transactions: An Interest-Based And Modern Principles-Based Framework For Assessment, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2017

Choice-Of-Law Rules For Secured Transactions: An Interest-Based And Modern Principles-Based Framework For Assessment, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

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This essay examines the law applicable to secured transactions. It addresses in particular the codification of the choice-of-law rules for secured transactions (STCOL rules). These rules address the laws applicable to the creation, perfection, priority, and enforcement of security interests (security rights)—a form of legislative or statutory dépeçage. It draws on the 2016 UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions (Model Law) as well as relevant North American law (Uniform Commercial Code Article 9 and the Canadian provincial Personal Property Security Acts). The STCOL rules lie at the heart of the emerged and emerging modern principles of secured transactions law …


Regulatory Entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Pollman, Jordan M. Barry Jan 2017

Regulatory Entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Pollman, Jordan M. Barry

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This Article examines what we term “regulatory entrepreneurship” — pursuing a line of business in which changing the law is a significant part of the business plan. Regulatory entrepreneurship is not new, but it has become increasingly salient in recent years as companies from Airbnb to Tesla, and from DraftKings to Uber, have become agents of legal change. We document the tactics that companies have employed, including operating in legal gray areas, growing “too big to ban,” and mobilizing users for political support. Further, we theorize the business and law-related factors that foster regulatory entrepreneurship. Well-funded, scalable, and highly connected …