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September 5, 2012
Amicus Brief In Apple e-Book Case Filed As A Five Page Comic Strip
Attorney Bob Kohn filed his amicus brief in the Apple e-book pricing case. The Court limited his filing to 5 pages. His response was to file it in the form of a five page comic strip with three additional pages of citations. I’m not sure if the Court will or will not be amused. It is novel. There are the usual statements that Amazon is a predatory seller, that the goal of antitrust law is efficient pricing, not low prices, and that the e-book market’s competition is piracy. There is no mention of the tangible book as a market factor. It’s an easy read and is available as an embedded document at paidContent.
Aside from presenting its general argument, the brief is scripted in ways a normal brief could not express. Comics convey just as much context from the drawing as well as the dialogue, sometimes in a heavy-handed way. There are the opening panels showing a stern judge ordering the filing to be five pages. A young woman takes the role of the public chorus as Kohn explains his argument to her. The give and take in dialogue predictably focuses on Amazon’s conduct as a predatory marketer, concluding that Amazon is the bad guy in all of this. The Assistant AG arguing before the Court is portrayed as an angry blowhard pointing his fingers at the judge who has lines around her head as if startled. His dialogue bubble is all jagged in comparison to that of Kohn and his companion, and it suggests a narrow or rote reading of the law: “Low prices are one of the principle goals of antitrust law.” One can’t get away with that kind of stuff with mere text.
Speaking of which, Kohn should be grateful the Court did not order his response in the form of a tweet. What would that be? “Apple good, Amazon bad, DOJ wrong. Citations to follow.” [MG]