The Federal Trade Commission has set aside 1960 orders against Warner Publisher Services, Inc. (formerly, Independent News Company, Inc.) and DC Comics (formerly National Comics Publications, Inc.). The FTC granted the companies' petitions to do so pursuant to its sunsetting policy, under which it presumes the public interest warrants terminating competition orders more than 20 years old.
Warner Publisher Services, Inc. is owned by Time, Inc. and is based in New York City. DC Comics, also based in New York City, is a partnership between Warner Communications Inc. and Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.
At the time the FTC brought the case that led to these orders, Independent News Company was a national distributor of paperback books and other publications for several independent publishers, including comics magazines published by National Comics. The consent orders settled FTC charges that they favored certain customers by making payments or allowances for services or facilities furnished to them on terms not made available to their competitors on proportionally equal terms. The orders required the companies to offer promotional allow- ances for their publications on proportionally equal terms to all customers.
The Commission votes to reopen and set aside the orders as to the petitioning parties were 5-0. In a concurring statement, Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga said she believes the Commission should have set aside the 1960 order against Independent News Company, Inc. not only as to the petitioner, but also as to the other respondent under the order because there is no evidence of recidivist conduct by either respon- dent. Azcuenaga said that she had previously expressed her support for a simple, across-the-board sunset rule, and that the policy of reviewing each respondent under each order unjustifiably increased the burden on public and private resources.
Copies of the Commission orders reopening and setting aside the 1960 orders, the 1960 orders, and Commissioner Azcuenaga's statement are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov
FTC Docket Nos. National Comics/Independent, 7614