A federal antitrust lawsuit against a Michigan MLS "is not about competition between 'traditional' brokers and 'discount' brokers," the MLS contends in a court filing -- rather, it is all about whether the MLS can establish different rules for different types of real estate listings. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit in October 2006 charging that Realcomp II Ltd., a Detroit-area Realtor-owned MLS with about 15,000 members, adopted anticompetitive rules that prevent the automatic distribution of a category of property listings to prominent public-facing Web sites such as Realtor.com and the MLS's own public property-search Web site. In their latest court brief, filed Aug. 17, lawyers for Realcomp II state that "competitive harm has not been proven" and request that the lawsuit be dismissed. Closing arguments in the lawsuit are scheduled for Sept. 6 at the FTC Building in Washington, D.C. Realcomp II is the lone holdout among a group of seven MLSs that the FTC took action...
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