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
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…