If there is something human beings are really good at, it’s our ability to recognize a real chance when it’s given to us. However, while that’s certainly an invaluable part of the human toolbox, the thing that probably beats it by a hair is our efficiency in manufacturing sustainable chances on our own. This has enabled us time and time again around various frontiers, therefore helping us make a more inclusive bid for growth. Now, these bids, in turn, have left a very unique impact on the world, but the only one that went further to achieve different permutations of its impact was technology. When technology first arrived on the scene, nobody really expected it to become so important let alone turn into a centerpiece for our surroundings. Now, despite such a dynamic running the show, we would also go on to learn about certain downsides of technology over time. In fact, the world saw yet another example concerning the said regard quite recently.
US Justice Department has formally charged three men involved in a DVD and Blu-ray price-fixing operation, which was evidently carried out through the Amazon marketplace. Interestingly enough, according to certain reports, this operation went on uninterrupted from 2017 to 2019 before the culprits named; Morris Sutton, Emmanuel Hourizadeh, and Raymond Nouvahian were finally caught. Their activities pose a rather blatant violation of antitrust laws. Basically, the trio, alongside a few other unnamed parties, used Amazon’s third-party Marketplace storefronts to make people pay more for available movie discs. They made it happen by engaging in constant communication, eliminating competition, and eventually beefing up the prices. As per the established laws, the three men can now face upto 10 years in prison, while also having to shell out a possible $1 million in penalty.
“As American consumers increasingly turn to e-commerce, it is critically important to deter, detect and prosecute crimes that prevent fair and open competition in online marketplaces,” said Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General. “These charges demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s continued commitment to prosecuting anticompetitive conduct wherever it may occur.”
Breaking down the numbers in play here, Sutton reportedly earned over $360,000 in DVD and Blu-ray sales. On the other hand, Hourizadeh and Nouvahian clocked at least $1.1 million.
The case is, unfortunately, not the first one that conveys a dangerous misuse of tech platforms. Nevertheless, we are finally witnessing regulators take a more aggressive stance in the said context. Kanter himself boasts a long involvement in trying to tighten up the loose ends and make a more complete tech landscape.