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Apple seeks trial over DoJ price fixing allegations

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Apple on Wednesday rose to challenge the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit over alleged ebook price fixing, asking for a trial at the first hearing in Manhattan federal court since the DoJ's filing last week.

A lawyer for Apple said that the Cupertino, Calif., company wants to defend itself in court against allegations that it colluded with five major book publishers to fix the price of ebooks provided through the iBookstore, reports Reuters.

Standing by Apple in its pursuit of a separate trial are publishing houses Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, and Penguin Group, which is owned by Pearson.

"Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits," said Apple lawyer Daniel Floyd to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote. "We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that."

The three remaining publishers that decided not to fight the accusations, News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc and Lagardere SCA subsidiary Hachette Book Group, settled out of court. Fifteen states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico were reportedly in settlement talks with the three publishers.

Shepard Goldfein, a lawyer for HarperCollins, told the court that if all 50 states were to settle, it could impact a class action suit from consumers. The company is apparently hedging its bets and attempting to avoid any additional fallout from the multiple lawsuits.

"There could be something left of the class, or nothing left of the class," Goldfein said.

With the settlement, Apple can no longer practice its "most favored nations" policy that has allowed publishers to name the price of ebooks in return for not selling the products to other resellers like Amazon. The internet sales giant will likely revert back to its original wholesale model, which allows it to set the prices of ebooks at below-cost prices to lure customers.

Hachette and HarperCollins agreed to pay $51 million in restitutions to a group of U.S. states for consumers who bought ebooks under Apple's scrutinized sales model. Simon and Schuster is also looking to enter the settlement a company lawyer said. It is unclear what plans the states have for settlement the money.

The allegations of price fixing are also being studied by the European Commission, and the government body announced that it had received settlement proposals from Apple, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette Livre and Macmillan.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 19
Great news! It's good to see Apple taking a firm stand against the bogus charges and allegations brought forth by people who do not know the law.

The current DOJ is one of the most incompetent and amateurish DOJs ever. The guy in charge (Eric Holder) is a complete moron. Somebody should investigate the DOJ, as they are involved in and possibly guilty of far more serious things (murder, gun running to Mexico) than any alleged e-book price fixing, which is peanuts in comparison.

The DOJ also took down two of my favorite poker sites on the net, and I still haven't gotten my money back from one of those sites. Screw the DOJ and screw Eric Holder. The DOJ going after Apple is simply a huge waste of time and of tax payers money. But I guess that's one of the primary goals of the current government, to waste tax payers money.
post #3 of 19
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post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Great news! It's good to see Apple taking a firm stand against the bogus charges and allegations brought forth by people who do not know the law.

The current DOJ is one of the most incompetent and amateurish DOJs ever. The guy in charge (Eric Holder) is a complete moron. Somebody should investigate the DOJ, as they are involved in and possibly guilty of far more serious things (murder, gun running to Mexico) than any alleged e-book price fixing, which is peanuts in comparison.

The DOJ also took down two of my favorite poker sites on the net, and I still haven't gotten my money back from one of those sites. Screw the DOJ and screw Eric Holder. The DOJ going after Apple is simply a huge waste of time and of tax payers money. But I guess that's one of the primary goals of the current government, to waste tax payers money.

DoJ always appears incompetent when they pursue cases we don't like (e.g. poker). So I have no problem with your characterization of it, even if the case for going after the poker sites is pretty clear. But Eric Holder is not just a moron but a complete moron? Unless you know him really well, such a personal insult is not only unwarranted but so baseless that it diminishes your arguments.

Back to the issue at stake, Apple's position seems strong when you look at it from their perspective and also from the perspective of a virtual Amazon monopoly. On the other hand, a couple of the publishers folded rather promptly, which suggests that this is another one of those complex cases where no one is truly innocent.
post #5 of 19
No need to worry about the small stuff that's happening now. Once the e-market being defined and DRM'ed now is daily routine for the masses, all prices will start to go up
post #6 of 19
Bold move by Apple. This will be entertaining to follow.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

But Eric Holder is not just a moron but a complete moron? Unless you know him really well, such a personal insult is not only unwarranted but so baseless that it diminishes your arguments.

I don't know the guy personally, thank goodness for that, but my insult is not personally meant. It is a professional insult. He may be a nice guy in real life, but I believe that his professional actions and statements are moronic, and that makes him a moron in my book. So perhaps I should have called him a professional moron instead of a complete moron. I also have some other criticisms of him, but that is probably better suited for the political section of this forum.
post #8 of 19
Big



Brass



Pair


I want to see a ruling no matter which way it falls.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Great news! It's good to see Apple taking a firm stand against the bogus charges and allegations brought forth by people who do not know the law.

The current DOJ is one of the most incompetent and amateurish DOJs ever. The guy in charge (Eric Holder) is a complete moron. Somebody should investigate the DOJ, as they are involved in and possibly guilty of far more serious things (murder, gun running to Mexico) than any alleged e-book price fixing, which is peanuts in comparison.

The DOJ also took down two of my favorite poker sites on the net, and I still haven't gotten my money back from one of those sites. Screw the DOJ and screw Eric Holder. The DOJ going after Apple is simply a huge waste of time and of tax payers money. But I guess that's one of the primary goals of the current government, to waste tax payers money.

Better tell the EU, I guess they don't know their laws either (and Australia too):

Quote:
The allegations of price fixing are also being studied by the European Commission, and the government body announced that it had received settlement proposals from Apple, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette Livre and Macmillan.

Funny, they're real quick to settle there. If they're so innocent, why would they bother?
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post #10 of 19
Trouble with this is having a jury that doesn't/won't understand the legal fine points, but will only understand that having the lowest price makes the most sense, and they may be used to using Walmart and Amazon, where price is EVERYTHING, regardless of the consequences to the industry. We've watched Walmart drive out of business small businesses for decades, and Amazon is nothing more than the equivalent of Walmart on the internet, with potentially far more impact on the world supply chain. Also, there will be a number of Apple haters among the jurists, you can be sure. Hopefully, the DOJ will drop its suit against Apple (but they are like attack dogs that don't care, because it is taxpayer money being spent, so I don't hold out any hope for this result). Does anyone know where the trial would be held, and by virtue of that the location of the jurists being chosen?
post #11 of 19
Let the eBook price droppings begin!
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Funny, they're real quick to settle there. If they're so innocent, why would they bother?

Why does anyone give up in the face of unrelenting and exhorbitant attorney fees, time, and aggravation, even if you believe you are innocent? Sounds like the lesser of two evils, with the prospects of defending the actions the greater threat and cost. Also, not sure whether treble damages might apply or not, but may have contributed to the agreement to settle with no such damages being levied (just guessing here).
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Funny, they're real quick to settle there. If they're so innocent, why would they bother?

Just because somebody accuses you of something, that doesn't mean that you are guilty, even if you settle, especially when you happen to be a huge corporation. The EU case is not the same as the DOJ case, because the EU hasn't actually charged Apple with anything yet AFAIK.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Better tell the EU, I guess they don't know their laws either (and Australia too):



Funny, they're real quick to settle there. If they're so innocent, why would they bother?

I can see Apple offering cash but admitting wrongdoing and nullifying contracts? Suck it, DoJ! Just cause your name says, "justice" doesn't mean you have the last word on it.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

Let the eBook price droppings begin!

Or not.

The favored nation clause and agency pricing are not one and the same. The publishers could still demand agency pricing or even just pull out of he shops they know don't want to give the pricing control under wholesale. not even the DOJ can force them to sell with anyone they don't want

Or with the MFN clause gone they could demand agency with a 'no less than' rule of their own.

There's lots of ways the publishers can keep the prices up if they want

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Better tell the EU, I guess they don't know their laws either (and Australia too):

In Australia crickets chirp, the ACCC's calls for complaints continue to go unheeded.

Australian publishers probably don't want the ACCC looking too closely at them, besides we aren't a nation of whining "dobbers."

Google is also having fun with the ACCC, a bit more serious than the "when is a 4G device, not a 4G device" and "why a $9.99 eBook from Amazon is not the same as a $9.99 iBook even 'though the title and words are the same" complaints Apple has to deal with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Funny, they're real quick to settle there. If they're so innocent, why would they bother?

A "settlement proposal" may also translate to "Fuck you, we're innocent" written using legal language.
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post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I don't know the guy personally, thank goodness for that, but my insult is not personally meant. It is a professional insult. He may be a nice guy in real life, but I believe that his professional actions and statements are moronic, and that makes him a moron in my book. So perhaps I should have called him a professional moron instead of a complete moron. I also have some other criticisms of him, but that is probably better suited for the political section of this forum.

Really?! I have no clue about Holder, nor do I particularly care. But he's all these various categories of "moron" compared to doozies such as Alberto Gonsalez, Ed Meese, and John Ashcroft?

Didn't one of these geniuses drape a piece of cloth around the Spirit of Justice statue since they were bothered by an exposed breast in a piece of sculpture?

Really?!
post #18 of 19
When Apple win I wonder if they can sue for deformation of character?
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
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post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

When Apple win I wonder if they can sue for deformation of character?

Nothing worse than a deformed character.

Seriously, though, I'm not sure that Apple's character has been defamed in the legal sense. The DoJ made their accusation in a filing, which is the proper place. It might be different if they never filed in court, but made accusations in various media outlets. It's pretty hard to sue the government successfully. Even if this is completely frivolous, has Apple suffered any substantial damages that would be worth going after? They could easily be at the point of diminishing returns if they could and did sue.
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