Publishers object to US restrictions on Apple in e-books case

Kindle Credit: Amazon
Kindle
Credit: Amazon

Five of the largest U.S. publishers objected to tough new restrictions sought by the U.S. government against Apple for illegally conspiring to raise e-book prices.

In a motion filed Wednesday in U.S. district court in Manhattan, the publishers said a proposed final order in the case would effectively prevent Apple from entering into agreements that limit its ability to discount books.

The publishers said provisions proposed by the U.S. Justice Department would instead punish the publishers, which had already reached settlements with the federal government and dozens of states, paying $166 million to benefit consumers.

“Despite achieving their stated goal of returning price competition, plaintiffs now seek to improperly impose additional, unwarranted restrictions on the settling defendants, thereby depriving each publisher of the benefit of its bargain with plaintiffs,” the publishers wrote.

The motion came ahead of a Friday hearing on whether the court should adopt remedies proposed by the Justice Department and 33 U.S. states and territories after a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote that Apple conspired with the publishers.

The Justice Department accused Apple of conspiring to undercut Amazon.com Inc’s e-book dominance, causing some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 that the online retailer charged. Amazon once had a 90 percent market share.

Following Cote’s ruling, the government asked that she require Apple to end contracts with the five publishers and be prevented for five years from entering contracts that the Justice Department says would restrict Apple from competing on price.

Apple would also be forced to hire an internal antitrust compliance officer and employ a court-appointed external monitor.

But objections have now been posed by the publishers, which include Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Random House LLC, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan.

In their motion, the publishers said the settlement would effectively eliminate Apple’s ability to enter agreements allowing for discounts by eliminating for five years its use of so-called agency agreements, in which publishers set prices and Apple gets a commission.

As a result, the publishers say the proposals don’t impose any limitation on Apple’s pricing behavior and instead “effectively punish” publishers by preventing them from entering into agency agreements with the iPad manufacturer.

The publishers say the Justice Department’s proposal conflicts with their own settlements with the government, which allowed them, with certain limitations, to enter into agency deals with retailers.

A spokesman for Apple declined comment.

“The proposed settlement with Apple, if approved by the court, would prohibit Apple from entering agreements that limit retail price competition during a reset period,” said a spokeswoman for the Justice Department in an email. “The proposed relief does not modify the terms of the settlements we reached with the publisher defendants.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.