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Posts tagged department of justice

Apple E-Book Price-Fixing: A look back at the $9.99 boycott
August 17, 2013 | 11:22 am

e-bookReading the latest news, it seems as if the actions taken by Apple in its earlier attempts at price fixing have always been obvious. It may come as a shock to some that this has not always been the case. The events that played out at the beginning of the post-Kindle e-book era have been tumultuous at best and downright ugly at their worst.  There was a clear and concerted effort on the part of our country's largest publishers and one of its largest tech companies to underhandedly force artificially high price points on customers. In the past, the story may very...

Judge Cote devises brave punishments for Apple in settlement hearing
August 9, 2013 | 8:25 pm

Apple and the publishers had their hearing before Judge Cote today on the penalties she’s considering imposing. There was more interesting news in the run-up to it, of course. First, GigaOm reports that the Department of Justice filed a response (available here as PDF) to the publishers’ en masse complaint about being punished twice. The response said, essentially, that they don’t want to do anything to the publishers, and all their proposals target Apple. And the DoJ even pointed out how similar the publishers’ argument was to Apple’s argument back when the publishers were settling, just as I did yesterday. And...

Settling publishers object to being ‘punished again’ by proposed Apple settlement
August 8, 2013 | 7:57 am

The schadenfreude just keeps on getting freudier. The Wall Street Journal reports that the five publishers involved in the Apple trial have filed an objection to the Department of Justice’s proposed settlement terms for Apple. The publishers complain that the settlement terms would punish them twice. "The provisions do not impose any limitation on Apple's pricing behavior at all; rather, under the guise of punishing Apple, they effectively punish the settling defendants by prohibiting agreements with Apple using an agency model," lawyers for the publishers said in papers filed in federal court in Manhattan. ...

Apple protests Department of Justice’s proposed anti-trust penalties, but does it have a case?
August 4, 2013 | 7:49 pm

I’ve been taking the time to read and think about the Department of Justice’s proposed penalties for Apple in the recent anti-trust trial, and Apple’s response complaining that the penalties were too harsh and unsupported by law. There’s plenty of interesting stuff here, to be sure. For starters, look at the DoJ’s proposed penalties. It’s possible I might just owe the Motley Fool an apology, as despite Judge Cote saying she didn’t intend to paint with a broader brush, the DoJ nonetheless does seek at least in some respects to use the results of the trial to extend its...

Apple to Allow Rival E-Book Retailers to Provide Direct Links to Content
August 2, 2013 | 6:41 pm

I didn't see this coming, although in hindsight, I should have. The DOJ and 33 state attorney generals just published their proposed remedies in the Apple price fixing case. Most of it was expected: ending existing contracts with retailers and appointing an external monitor to ensure they don't slip again. But check out this one: "Apple will also be prohibited from entering into agreements with suppliers of e-books, music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple’s competitor retailers may sell that content. To reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy, Apple...

Why Apple is still fighting the DoJ
June 30, 2013 | 3:44 pm

The Wall Street Journal has a look at why Apple is so persistent in fighting the Department of Justice charges after the publishers already settled. It basically comes down to not having its ability to negotiate with other media businesses hampered, not having to get rid of its “most favored nation” clauses in other media sales (it does use them in other areas than just e-books), and not having to put up with government oversight. "Any time there is a monitor, there is someone sticking their nose in your future business and you aren't comfortable," said...

Is anyone still paying attention to the DOJ/ebook antitrust case?
May 18, 2013 | 12:47 pm

DOJ vs. AppleI guess I'd forgotten. Now that all the the publishing players have settled, abandoning agency pricing and returning to the wholesale slums, the DOJ/e-book antitrust case, which popped up again in everyone's news feeds this week, feels a little anticlimactic. The DOJ, perhaps simply because it's what it found, or perhaps because there's no one left to pick on, is framing the last defendant standing, Apple, as the "ringmaster" in the price-fixing suit, according the New York Times. With the case set to go to trial June 3 in New York (and what a fine note on which to end BEA), I find myself wondering: At...

Average price of best-selling e-books on the decline
April 9, 2013 | 11:45 am

e-booksE-books seem to be costing consumers less money. Digital Book World tracks the prices of e-books on the best-sellers lists every week. Last week, the news site found e-books on the lists averaged more than $8 a book. After a week where a new publisher (Macmillan) allowed discounted prices, the average price of e-books on the best-sellers list dropped to $7.21, a record low, according to DBW. One of the more interesting notes from DBW’s research is that $9.99 doesn’t seem to be a popular price anymore. This price point has been reserved for newer popular books and those that retailers can definitely...

Retailers begin discounting Macmillan e-books
April 5, 2013 | 10:04 am

Retailers are finally discounting Macmillan-published e-books - nearly two months after it settled its Department of Justice’s price fixing case. Prices of e-books have been lowered on sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, according to Publishers Lunch. This includes books such as Silver Linings Playbook, Killing Lincoln and Ender’s Game. That leaves Penguin as the lone publisher that settled with the DOJ as to not have books discounted. Amazon is still hanging on to “This price was set by the publisher” tag on the site for Penguin books. The Macmillan discounts have ranged from about $1 to $2 off the original price. Silver...

Morning Links: Price-fixing, the death of Google Reader, and more
March 14, 2013 | 9:00 am

Morning LinksPublishers: Go Hybrid! (Future Book) DOJ Price-Fixing Case Has Generated Over 8 Million Pages of Evidence (Publisher's Weekly) The Killing of Google Reader Highlights Risk of Relying on Single Provider (Techdirt) Self-Publishing Takes Center Stage at San Francisco Writer's Conference (Media Shift) Kindle Daily Deals: The Galaxy Project by Robert Heinlein (and 3 others)...

Amazon Isn’t Evil
February 21, 2013 | 2:30 pm

Amazon Kindles and their ownersYes, you read that headline correctly. When the DOJ lawsuit against the publishers came out last year, it became a lot more about Amazon and their alleged monopolistic practices than it was about the publishers and their alleged collusion. Now three independent bookstores are suing Amazon and the publishers for anti-trust violations around DRM. Lawsuits and most media coverage completely miss the point about Amazon's success. If a picture is truly worth 1,000 words, I'll save you a lot of reading: That's from an improptu D.C.-area get together of KindleBoards members (I'm the yellow sleeve on the bottom left.) Four Kindle owners; 12 Kindles. Think that's a...

DOJ Approves Penguin Random House Merger
February 14, 2013 | 3:37 pm

One hurdle down. Several more to go with the EU, Canadian Competition Bureau and various other antitrust authorities around the world still needing to weigh in on this. Penguin's settlement with the Justice Department was a move to smooth the way for this merger, and it looks like that move worked. Note that Random House, not included in the price-fixing case, will be bound by the terms of the Penguin settlement. Who owns how much of what? For those who are keeping score, according to the announcement: Following completion, Bertelsmann will own 53% and Pearson 47% of Penguin Random House. It will encompass...

BREAKING: Macmillan Settles with DOJ on Price Fixing
February 8, 2013 | 12:30 pm

Apple is now the lone hold-out. As you may recall, three publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—immediately settled, leaving Penguin, MacMillan and Apple to fight it out in court. Penguin settled in December, probably to protect their pending merger with Random House. And now Macmillan joins its fellows. Macmillan CEO John Sargent cited financial reasons for the settlement, according to this story on Publishers Lunch: "Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment. In this action the government accused five publishers and Apple of conspiring to raise prices. As each publisher settled, the remaining defendants became responsible not only...

Macmillan Says Renegotiated E-Book Deals Allows Some Discounting
December 28, 2012 | 8:26 pm

  Macmillan, the last of the major publishers still fighting the U.S. Justice Department over antitrust charges, says it has renegotiated its e-book deals with retailers to allow some discounting. In an open letter posted on his book-publishing company's website Wednesday afternoon, Macmillan Chief Executive John Sargent said the firm is still committed to fighting the antitrust case brought by the Justice Department involving allegations that Macmillan and four other publishers plus Apple Inc. (AAPL) conspired to raise e-book prices. Read Full Article... Source: Global Finance * * *      ...

Morning Links: Penguin settles with DOJ; NYT publishing e-books
December 19, 2012 | 8:52 am

Google Play BookseBooks Can Unify Backlist for Prominent Authors (Digital Book World) The Slow But Steady March Toward Paid Content (Scholarly Kitchen) Google Play Books Introduces Read-Aloud Feature (Good E-Reader) Penguin Settles with Department of Justice in eBook Pricing Case (Paid Content) Kindle Daily Deal: Pocket 47 & Three Others * * *  ...

Antitrust experts say publishing is not a special case
October 31, 2012 | 10:30 am

Do publishers deserve special treatment from anti-trust courts? Paid Content reports on antitrust experts who said no at a New York book event this week: “There’s never been a defendant sued for antitrust who didn’t think their market was special,” said Chris Sagers of Cleveland State University, adding that “agency pricing”  (a commission-style pricing system used by the publishers to check Amazon) is just another word for price-fixing. This is basically in line with the arguments the Department of Justice made in its response to public comments, and its arguments in the hearings concerning whether the proposed settlement should go through; Judge Denise...

RoyaltyShare founder Bob Kohn appeals denial of his right to appeal DoJ agency pricing settlement
October 12, 2012 | 9:52 pm

Bob KohnI’m a little late, but I wanted to bring up just one story that popped up between the times I was at The Digital Reader and here. I’ve been following the saga of RoyaltyShare founder Bob Kohn at length with some interest and more than a little amusement. (That's Kohn in the photo to the right.)  Though he doesn’t necessary have a direct stake in the case’s outcome, Kohn has nonetheless been filing verbose comments, legal motions, and even a comic book (as a legal motion) in an attempt to head off the Department of Justice’s proposed agency pricing settlement....

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