In a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is bringing against book publishers for eBook price fixing, lawyers have been invited to submit amicus briefs for the court’s consideration. However, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s rejected attorney Bob Kohn’s twenty-five-page document, saying she would only accept a mere five. So Kohn did what no other lawyer has done: He submitted his brief in comic book form.
The mini-graphic novel can be found here. In it, he explains the goal of anti-trust laws are to offer consumers efficient prices, rather than low prices.
Although the DoJ quickly dismissed it, Kohn has earned recognition from his fellow lawyers.
According to John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney of Public Knowledge, “It was creative. I think he drew a lot more attention to his argument than he would have gotten if he could just had five pages of text.”
Despite admiration for Kohn’s presentation, Bermayer does not agree with it. “If [Amazon] manages to drive off all competition, I could see there being a threat of eBook seller monopoly, so I’m totally sympathetic with people trying to counter that. But I would say that you shouldn’t do it by breaking antitrust laws. There are legal ways you can help the market develop.”
The case is currently pending in the Southern District of New York.
Although Kohn’s creation was created in response to Judge Cote’s requirement, Kohn has touched upon an important learning tool. In the graphic novel, Understanding Comics, author/artist Scott McCloud explains that presenting information in graphic format makes the subject more comprehensible. (A call to Kohn about his reasons for choosing the comic book format is currently unreturned.)
Kohn’s original take can be read here. And even though the original is more comprehensive, his abbreviated (some would say brief) comic brief was absolutely more entertaining.