Readersforum's Blog

May 25, 2012

Apple Claims US Government Sides with ‘Amazon’s Monopolistic Grip’ in E-book Case

Filed under: Lawsuits — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:07 am

By John Ribeiro,

The U.S. government has sided with monopoly rather than competition in bringing a case of e-book price-fixing against Apple, the company said in a filing on Tuesday before a federal court.

The Department of Justice filed in April an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five large publishers, accusing the companies of working together to raise prices of e-books, in retaliation for competitor Amazon.com pricing most e-books at US$9.99 beginning in late 2007.

Three publishers – Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster – agreed to settle the lawsuit, the DOJ said.

Apple’s reply to the court is in line with a statement issued by Apple in April after the DOJ filed its case, in which it said that “the launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.” The company added: “Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.”

The government’s complaint does not allege that all e-book prices, or even most e-book prices, increased after Apple entered the market, the company said in the filing before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Apple had in fact no interest in seeing price increases, it said.

The government’s complaint against Apple is fundamentally “flawed as a matter of fact and law,” Apple said. The company said it has not conspired with anyone, was not aware of any alleged conspiracy by others, and never fixed prices.

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April 13, 2012

Fallen agents – how everything just changed

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:49 am

By Philip Jones

The Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Apple and five of America’s biggest publishers begins like a John Grisham novel, talking of Apple’s “aikido move”, violations of anti-trust law, and tens of millions of dollars having been overspent on e-books. But in reality the document is a 49-page slasher-novel that leaves no-one in the industry unscathed.

It is a remarkable document that details dinners in private rooms for chief executives, clandestine phone-conversations, not-so private email exchanges, and gestures of solidarity among the world’s biggest publishers in the face of Amazon. All bizarrely caught on camera, and now laid-bare for anyone to read about.

There are some choice passages:

 

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March 19, 2012

Authors Guild head (and attorney) Scott Turow warns DOJ about the effects of law suit

By Paul Oliver

The Department of Justice’s confounding lawsuit against five of the Big Six publishing companies and Apple, Inc. for price-collusion has been widely regarded as a “out of the frying pan and into the fire” sort of move. The tragic lawsuit seemingly damages competition in benefit of the expansion of the leading market influence (Amazon) and thus undermines the supposed goal of the laws it seeks to uphold.

The list of the suit’s many detractors was joined on Friday by Author’s Guild President Scott Turow when the bestselling author and lawyer offered a clear-eyed and damning open letter concerning the suit. Turow’s letter opens with a grim warning that strikes at the heart of the matter:

Yesterday’s report that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.

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