Down by Law
Powerful industry lobbies are fighting tooth and nail to stop online competitors.
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Over the past two years, Old Economy companies ranging from winewholesalers to contact lens manufacturers have used their lobbiesto inhibit e-commerce. For example, last January, a federal lawinfluenced by wine and spirits wholesalers curbed online winesales. Similarly, some brick-and-mortar auctioneers have pushed forstate laws inhibiting sales by eBay.
This protectionism has significant ramifications. TheProgressive Policy Institute (PPI), a Washington, DC, think tank,estimates e-commerce barriers cost American consumers andbusinesses $15 billion annually. This wasted money often comes outof the pockets of entrepreneurs. Access Markets, a New York Cityresearch firm, estimates at least 5 million small companiescurrently conduct commerce on the Internet.
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