First Round Of Ebook Price Fixing Settlements Are Announced

from the when-crime-does-eventual-pay dept

When the Department of Justice decided to sue Apple and five of the major book publishers for price fixing ebooks, we were glad to see some justice coming to purchasers of overpriced ebooks. Shortly after filing the suit, three of those publishers, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster, decided to settle rather than fight. Now, the first round of settlements have been reached between these three companies and 49 states (sorry Minnesota) and 5 US territories. The settlement totals to around $69 million to be split among the states and territories.

In a press release on this settlement, Connecticut AG George Jepson states that while it is fine for companies to seek profit, they shouldn't harm the public in the process.
While publishers are entitled to their profits, consumers are equally entitled to a fair and open marketplace. This settlement will provide restitution to those customers who were harmed by this price-fixing scheme, but it also will restore competition in the eBook market for consumers’ long-term benefit.
By restoring competition in the market, these publishers agree to allow retailers pricing control of ebooks in the future. This could bring us back to $10 and below new releases that we have sorely missed.

While this settlement is getting underway, the settlement between these companies and the DOJ is still being reviewed. That may take a while as District Court Judge Denise Cote has 868 public comment letters to sift through. Hopefully, she can ignore the ignorant pleas of those opposed to the current settlement proposal and agree to a positive result. All that would be left is that actual lawsuit against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin which are all holding their ground that they did nothing wrong. 
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Filed Under: ebooks, price fixing, settlement
Companies: hachette, harpercollins, simon & schuster


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  1. identicon
    Matt, 30 Aug 2012 @ 9:53pm

    Doesn't seem fair

    It says a lot that Samsung competes with Apple, breaches a few patents whilst trying to give the customers what they want and is "fined" $1 billion. 3 publishers admit to colluding to inflate prices and rip off their customers on millions of ebook sales and the are "fined" $69 million. At least Apple could fight Samsung by inventing a better product. Consumers on the other hand have nowhere else to buy ebooks for a majority of the most popular titles. Consumers can't fight back yet the penalty is a fraction of the Samsung fine. I know they are different laws but I would guess the publishers still made a profit on those ebooks even after the fine. Maybe the penalty should be the same as the breach of copyright fine. $150,000 (??) per infringement x how many ebooks sold under the arrangement.

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