Thursday, April 12, 2012

U.S. sues Apple, publishers in alleged e-book price fixing; could benefit consumers

Consumers in Canada and around the world could soon be paying less for e-books after the U.S. government sued Apple and several major publishing firms over an alleged price-fixing conspiracy.
The suit, filed in federal court in New York, says Apple colluded with publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and MacMillan to fix the price of e-books. The government said it had settled with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, but was going ahead with a suit against MacMillan and Penguin.
The lawsuit said the alleged conspiracy came as Apple was preparing to launch the iPad two years ago. It alleged the conspiracy called for Apple to be guaranteed a 30 per cent commission on each e-book it sold, and kept retailers from selling e-books more cheaply than Apple.
“The publisher defendants teamed up with defendant Apple, which shared the same goal of restraining retail price competition in the sale of e-books,” the lawsuit said.
Protecting readers against price-gouging was the ultimate goal of the suit, said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles,” said Holder.

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