- SECTION 1. Trusts, etc., in restraint of trade illegal; penalty
- Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten million dollars if a corporation, or, if any other person, three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.
- SECTION 2. Monopolizing trade a felony; penalty
- Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten million dollars if a corporation, or, if any other person, three hundred and fifty thousand dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.
- Section 3. Trusts in Territories or District of Columbia illegal; combination a felony
- Every contract, combination in form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce in any Territory of the United States or of the District of Columbia, or in restraint of trade or commerce between any such Territory and another, or between any such Territory or Territories and any State or States or the District of Columbia, or with foreign nations, or between the District of Columbia and any State or States or foreign nations, is declared illegal. Every person who shall make any such contract or engage in any such combination or conspiracy, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.
- Section 4. Jurisdiction of courts; duty of United States attorneys; procedure
- The several district courts of the United States are invested with jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of sections 1 to 7 of this title; and it shall be the duty of the several United States attorneys, in their respective districts, under the direction of the Attorney General, to institute proceedings in equity to prevent and restrain such violations. Such proceedings may be by way of petition setting forth the case and praying that such violation shall be enjoined or otherwise prohibited. When the parties complained of shall have been duly notified of such petition the court shall proceed, as soon as may be, to the hearing and determination of the case; and pending such petition and before final decree, the court may at any time make such temporary restraining order or prohibition as shall be deemed just in the premises.
- Section 5. Bringing in additional parties
- Whenever it shall appear to the court before which any proceeding under section 4 of this title may be pending, that the ends of justice require that other parties should be brought before the court, the court may cause them to be summoned, whether they reside in the district in which the court is held or not; and subpoenas to that end may be served in any district by the marshal thereof.
- Section 6. Forfeiture of property in transit
- Any property owned under any contract or by any combination, or pursuant to any conspiracy (and being the subject thereof) mentioned in section 1 of this title, and being in the course of transportation from one State to another, or to a foreign country, shall be forfeited to the United States, and may be seized and condemned by like proceedings as those provided by law for the forfeiture, seizure, and condemnation of property imported into the United States contrary to law.
Section 6a. Conduct involving trade or commerce with foreign nations
Sections 1 to 7 of this title shall not apply to conduct involving trade or commerce (other than import trade or import commerce) with foreign nations unless –
(1) such conduct has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect –
(A) on trade or commerce which is not trade or commerce with foreign nations, or on import trade or import commerce with foreign nations; or
(B) on export trade or export commerce with foreign nations, of a person engaged in such trade or commerce in the United States; and
(2) such effect gives rise to a claim under the provisions of sections 1 to 7 of this title, other than this section.
If sections 1 to 7 of this title apply to such conduct only because of the operation of paragraph (1)(B), then sections 1 to 7 of this title shall apply to such conduct only for injury to export business in the United States.
- Section 7. ”Person” or ”persons” defined
- The word ”person”, or ”persons”, wherever used in sections 1 to 7 of this title shall be deemed to include corporations and associations existing under or authorized by the laws of either the United States, the laws of any of the Territories, the laws of any State, or the laws of any foreign country.
Facts about the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was proposed by Senator John Sherman.
It was intended, according to Sherman, to protect the consumers by preventing arrangements “designed, or which tend, to advance the cost of the consumer”.
The final version of the bill, written by the Senate Judiciary Committee, was intended to only include people who got their market share through force, fraud, or theft. To quote Senator George Hoar’s explanation to the Senate before the bill was passed:
A man who “got the whole business because nobody could do it as well as he could” would not be in violation of the Sherman Act.
In fact, as careful reading reveals, the law only forbids “restraint of trade or commerce”.
This is, as Sherman and Hoar said, to keep companies from raising consumer prices by reducing the amount of a product that is available to the consumers. Keeping enough of a demand from reaching consumers will make the prices in that industry increase.
It is interesting that Disney’s restricted sale of its movies through video and Seseme Street’s annual “inability” to produce enough of whatever toy they are pushing that year are closer to a violation (each has an intellectual monopoly of their products) than, say, Microsoft, who not only produces as many copies of its OS as it can possibly sell, but cannot in any way restrict the access to the industry of operating systems, as anyone in the US can get an OS from one of its competitors. See Is Microsoft a Monopoly for further details and insights on the application of monopoly law to that case. Also see this list of related links, and is one of related books.