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Posts tagged price fixing

Apple damages trial delayed to August 25
June 3, 2014 | 8:45 pm

In the wake of Apple’s recent failure to obtain a stay on the damages trial, Andrew Albanese reports at Publishers Weekly, the trial has been postponed again, to August 25. There may not actually be a trial as such after all, however; it’s possible Cote might issue a summary judgment deciding the case without recourse to a jury, or a partial judgment setting a damages floor for the jury to consider. Both parties have asked Judge Cote to consider issuing her ruling before the August 1 deadline for submission of their Joint Pretrial Order, which would discuss what is to...

Department of Justice asks settling publishers, ‘Done any more colluding lately?’
June 3, 2014 | 7:45 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports hearing from “people familiar with the situation” that the first three publishers to settle—Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and News Corp’s own HarperCollins—have received letters of inquiry from the Department of Justice, seeking information about “any recent pricing discussions they may have had with others in the industry.” The rest of the article is basically background reminding folks of the price-fixing lawsuit the publishers settled, and the trouble Amazon is having with Hachette. There’s really not a lot on which to speculate. It does seem clear, though, that given that the publishers are approaching the...

Wall Street Journal misses boat again with anti-Amazon hit piece
June 3, 2014 | 4:40 pm

newscorp_thumb[1]The Wall Street Journal has posted another scathing anti-Amazon editorial. It might be paywalled; if so you can bypass it by googling the headline. But I’m willing to bet you can guess pretty much exactly what it says without even reading it. Let’s review: the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which also owns Big Five nee Six publisher HarperCollins. HarperCollins was originally going to stay out of the agency pricing cabal until Steve Jobs reached out to Murdoch’s son James only two days before the iPad was going to launch, asking him to pressure...

Appeals court rejects Apple request for stay of damages trial
June 2, 2014 | 4:11 am

Apple’s collected another appeal rejection the way some writers used to collect publisher rejection slips. The appeals court issued a terse decision saying that Apple hadn’t met the legal standard required for a stay, so it would not stay the damages phase of the trial while Apple appeals the guilty verdict. Appeals courts rarely ever explain their reasoning for these matters in detail, so all we can really say is that they didn’t find Apple’s argument convincing. The rejection paves the way for the trial to begin July 14, unless there are further administrative delays. The closest thing to...

Department of Justice files brief in Apple antitrust appeal, argues for upholding Judge Cote’s verdict
May 29, 2014 | 4:37 am

Publishers Weekly’s Andrew Albanese has a rundown of the latest developments in the Apple anti-trust affair. The Department of Justice has filed its brief in favor of the appeals court upholding Judge Cote’s guilty verdict. (GigaOm has some additional commentary and a Scribd link to the filing itself.) The filing says about what you would expect it to say: the DoJ summarized Cote’s findings and rebutted all of Apple’s attorneys’ arguments. In their brief, the DoJ basically recapped their case, and argued that the prosecution did not need to meet a higher legal standard, as Apple...

Konrath vs. Stross on the Amazon/Hachette affair
May 27, 2014 | 4:37 am

So, more people have chimed in on the Amazon/Hachette thing. Most notably, Charlie Stross has blogged about it. Given that he’s published by Orbit, a subsidiary of Hachette, it’s understandable that his point of view is rather similar to Lilith Saintcrow’s: Amazon is a “malignant monopoly” engaging in predatory pricing, bullying Hachette, and so forth. Joe Konrath and pseudonymous guest blogger William Ockham have a different point of view. Konrath posted an essay to his blog in which they demolish Stross’s arguments point by point. Most of it is the same argument/counter-argument we’ve been hearing over and...

Norway pursues possible publisher cartel favoring own book chains
April 15, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Norway flagAfter the reports of Amazon entering the Swedish market amid possible restricted competition, now Scandinavian neighbor Norway has reportedly seen a crackdown on anti-competitive practices in the local book trade. According to the Norwegian press reports, the Norwegian Competition Authority (Konkurransetilsynet) has raided the offices of the country's big four publishing houses - Aschehoug, Cappelen, Gyldendal, and Schibsted - to investigate a possible cartel designed to restrict book supply to supermarkets and other outlets in favor of the publishers' own-branded book chains. Norway has a highly restricted publishing and book market that might facilitate such abuse. As per research in Regionalism...

Apple files opening brief in e-book anti-trust trial appeal
February 26, 2014 | 7:12 pm

Ars Technica reports that Apple has filed a 75-page opening brief in its appeal of Judge Cote’s decision finding it guilty of engaging in a conspiracy with the publishers to help raise prices. The Ars article has a reasonable summary of Apple’s arguments. Fundamentally, many of them are the same arguments that lost it the case in trial court: it just negotiated the most favorable contract for itself, and couldn’t be blamed for what the publishers, busy little bees that they are, imposed on other retailers. It acted to increase competition by making it possible for new players...

Appeals court denies Apple request to stay anti-trust monitor
February 11, 2014 | 11:23 am

The appeals court has issued its ruling on Apple’s request to have the anti-trust monitor stayed in the e-book price-fixing anti-trust trial. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple’s appeal has been denied. That being said, the appeals court did issue what it saw as instructions “narrowing” the monitor’s focus. The monitor is, the court said, supposed to make sure Apple has an anti-trust compliance program in place and that employees are being taught about what it means and how it works. He is not supposed to rummage around looking for violations of anti-trust or other laws. In the two-page document (PDF), court...

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...

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...

Interview: Publishers Weekly senior writer Andrew Richard Albanese discusses the Apple trial
July 29, 2013 | 7:26 pm

After I wrote my review of Publishers Weekly senior writer Andrew Richard Albanese’s (recently updated) e-book The Battle of $9.99 about the DoJ vs. Apple e-book trial, Publishers Weekly offered me a chance to interview Mr. Albanese. I came up with a number of questions and passed them along, and he answered them via email. We are looking into the possibility of further interviews in other formats. But for now, here are Mr. Albanese’s responses to my questions about the trial. In covering the Apple trial, what surprised you the most? This may sound like...