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Makan Delrahim. Photo: Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

The Justice Department will seek a court's approval to get rid of decades-old rules restricting how movie studios can distribute films, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said Monday.

Why it matters: While the DOJ and FTC are investigating tech companies for anticompetitive behavior, Delrahim warned against hurting innovation by over-enforcing or putting in place strict rules that could outlive their usefulness.

How it works: The Paramount Consent Decrees from the late 1940s prohibited major movie studios from both distributing films and owning theaters without court approval, as well as banning practices such as setting minimum prices for movie tickets.

  • Delrahim said the rules no longer make sense in the current media landscape.
  • "Once innovation has occurred, however, it would be a mistake for antitrust enforcers to limit the potential for consumer-enhancing innovation," Delrahim said in a speech at the American Bar Association's antitrust forum. "We cannot pretend that the business of film distribution and exhibition remains the same as it was 80 years ago."

Go deeper: Justice Dept. reviewing movie licensing restrictions on the books for decades (Hollywood Reporter)

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.