Special Report of the Monopolies Commission pursuant to Section 44 para. 1 sentence 4 GWB, 29 May 2018
- Monopolies Commission recommends abolishing the statutory rules on fixed book prices.
Today the Monopolies Commission has presented its Special Report No. 80 entitled "Fixed Book Prices in a Changing Market Environment". This Special Report, which was prepared at the Monopolies Commission’s own discretion, was prompted by a judgment from 2016 in which the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled that fixed prices for medicinal products in Germany were incompatible with the free movement of goods in the European Union. At least to the extent that fixed book prices can affect cross-border book trade, it cannot be ruled out – and with regard to e-books it is even probable – that the ECJ will also declare fixed book prices incompatible with EU law in a preliminary ruling.
In its Special Report, the Monopolies Commission assesses the fixed book prices both from an economic and legal perspective. It shows that fixed book prices constitute a serious market intervention, which has no well-defined cultural protection objective, and whose effects are ambivalent or unclear. As a result, the Monopolies Commission recommends abolishing the statutory rules on fixed book prices.
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