Academics and Big Tech?


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Technological transformations are raising a host of legal and economic issues that are keeping competition law academics very busy!

But are there risks to academic independence in the era of big tech? And are they any different to the experience with big oil, big tobacco, big pharma?

Recently there has been publicity surrounding the extent to which large tech companies are funding academic research that supports their policy and legal objectives.  Some are concerned that this threatens the integrity and value of the academic enterprise, particularly when there is non-disclosure of funding or potential conflicts of interest. Others are more accommodating, conscious of the impact of cut backs in government funding for research and keen to see greater engagement between universities and private enterprise.

In this episode of Competition Lore, we hear from one of the antitrust scholars in the thick of the debate.  Professor Daniel Sokol is from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is also an attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a client of which is Google. Danny shares his thoughts on being implicated personally in the campaign against so-called “Google Academics” and we talk about what it means to be a modern day scholar with a range of roles inside and outside of academia.

Here is a sample of Danny’s recent work in relation to antitrust issues and big tech:

The Cambridge Handbook of Antitrust, Intellectual Property, and High Tech, 2017

Understanding Online Markets and Antitrust Analysis, 2017 (with Jingyuan Mua)

Responding to Antitrust and Information Technology, 2017

Does Antitrust Have a Role to Play in Regulating Big Data?, 2016 (with Roisin Comerford)

The Broader Implications of Merger Remedies in High Technology Markets, 2014

The Google Transparency Project report referred in the episode can be found here.

Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition.

Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society.

Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded.

Competition Lore