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DOJ accuses Apple and publishers of conspiring again after e-book ruling

post #1 of 152
Thread Starter 
Ahead of a crucial decision on punishment in Apple's e-book antitrust case, the U.S. Department of Justice has accused the iPad maker once again of conspiring with major book publishers to file motions in opposition.

iBooks


Book publishers came to the defense of Apple this week, challenging the DOJ's proposed penalties in its antitrust e-book case. The publishers believe the settlements sought by the department would change the terms of their own respective out-of-court settlements with the government.

But those filings made by publishers in support of Apple drew criticism from the DOJ, as noted by GigaOm on Friday. In a response filed with the court, DOJ attorney Lawrence Buterman said that major book publishers have "banded together once again," making the need for strict regulations necessary.

"[This] only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount ebook sand compete on retail price for as long as possible," the DOJ said in its filing.

Apple, meanwhile, is attempting to argue that witnesses from Google and Amazon who testified in the case have "serious credibility issues" that were disregarded. Apple, unsurprisingly, wants a stay on all court proceedings, while the DOJ disagrees.

The DOJ presented to the court its proposed settlement in Apple's e-book antitrust case last week. If the Justice Department has their way, Apple could be required to allow competing e-book sellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble to include links to their own digital storefronts through their official iOS apps ? something that is currently not allowed without Apple taking a 30 percent cut of sales.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found Apple guilty of conspiring to raise e-book prices in July. Apple has appealed that ruling, and dismissed the DOJ's proposed penalties as a "draconian and punitive intrusion."

Apple and the DOJ are scheduled to meet Friday afternoon to discuss penalties in the price fixing case. AppleInsider will have full coverage.
post #2 of 152
This whole thing is incredibly weird.
post #3 of 152
The DOJ can kiss my ass. Don't they have more important things to do, like running guns into Mexico or lying to Congress under oath?
post #4 of 152

The DOJ calls a unified response from the publishers conspiring? Once the DOJ grouped them together as defendants in this case, they are entitled to respond together to the case. If they were not defendants in the case it would be a "Trade Group of Publishers". DOJ needs a good old fashioned smack down. 

post #5 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

The DOJ calls a unified response from the publishers conspiring? Once the DOJ grouped them together as defendants in this case, they are entitled to respond together to the case. If they were not defendants in the case it would be a "Trade Group of Publishers". DOJ needs a good old fashioned smack down. 

Exactly.  "Apple, you can't do business with A, B, C, D, or E" ... "OMG, A, B, C, D, and E are 'banding together' to oppose this!"  Idiots.

post #6 of 152
Just get rid of the most favored nation clause. That was the crux of the issue.
As far as punitive measures, make Apple donate money to literacy programs.
post #7 of 152

And there you have it. Even complaining about the Department of Justice is now a criminal act.

post #8 of 152
The funny thing is that they blame Apple because they are preventing Amazon to sell books at, or bellow cost, arguing it raised the prices for the customers.
Selling at or below cost is prohibited in many countries because it is anticompetitive for a large company to kill emerging competition by selling at or below cost.
post #9 of 152
WTF?!!!!

I'm wondering if DOJ and Amazon are ganging up!

Thanks to stupid Amazon, in a few years from now no one will bother writing anymore. RIP books ....

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

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post #10 of 152
DoJ translation: Apple, we have yet to receive any "lobbying" fees from you.

Hey DoJ, look into the predatory pricing of Amazon.
post #11 of 152
" the DOJ argued that the publishers have “banded together once again.”

OK, so the DOJ is admitting that they don't know what conspiracy is. Hint: The fact that several publishers reach the same conclusion independently is NOT conspiracy.

Not only will this decision get thrown out by the appeals court, but it's pretty clear that the DOJ doesn't even understand how the antitrust laws work, much less how to enforce them.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #12 of 152

Both Amazon and Google have a large presence in DC.  If Apple wants to be treated fairly, pay up.  Learn something from Microsoft and Intel past experiences!  It does not matter if you are right or wrong.  

post #13 of 152

This is a very dangerous situation for Apple.  This could spread into allowing anyone to sell content (music, books, movies, ty shows, ...) on iOS bypassing itunes.

 

The only problem in Apple case is its rule of forbitting content providers to sell at a lesser price elsewhere. This is where Apple got greedy and this is why we have a problem right now. Remove that and I dont see how Apple could impact prices elsewhere. The "solution" of the DOJ doesnt makes any sense imo... Apple makes this rule to hide its cut rate, but this wrong in so many levels. Apple bigger cut rate will make content prices higher in iOS ecosystem. Well Apple, deal with it or lower youre cut.

 

Seriously either those guys are retarted or there is corruption going on.


Edited by herbapou - 8/9/13 at 7:16am
post #14 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scapal View Post

The funny thing is that they blame Apple because they are preventing Amazon to sell books at, or bellow cost, arguing it raised the prices for the customers.
Selling at or below cost is prohibited in many countries because it is anticompetitive for a large company to kill emerging competition by selling at or below cost.

Forcing everyone to sell at the same price is just as anticompetitive.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #15 of 152
Maybe the DOJ needs to name an independent counsel to investigate itself for its anti-democratic policies and let the public worry about who's ripping who off.
post #16 of 152
Wow. DoJ? What are they? The Department of Jokers?
post #17 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

This is a very dangerous situation for Apple.  This could spread into allowing anyone to sell content (music, books, movies, ty shows, ...) on iOS bypassing itunes.

Last I checked competition and choice is a good thing for us as consumers.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #18 of 152

Looks like the DOJ is spying again! How else would they know this?  The IRS will be on Apple next!

 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
And still waiting for SolipsismX to prove his accusation:
"And yet they haven't loved Google Wallet which you claimed was the exact same thing and kept posting...
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Where's the new Apple TV?
 
And still waiting for SolipsismX to prove his accusation:
"And yet they haven't loved Google Wallet which you claimed was the exact same thing and kept posting...
Reply
post #19 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

Looks like the DOJ is spying again! How else would they know this?  The IRS will be on Apple next!

They made public statements to the DoJ. There was a article about it here just a few days ago.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #20 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


They made public statements to the DoJ. There was a article about it here just a few days ago.

Yes I know that- but did they state Apple was involved in their executing these statements? 

 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
And still waiting for SolipsismX to prove his accusation:
"And yet they haven't loved Google Wallet which you claimed was the exact same thing and kept posting...
Reply
 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
And still waiting for SolipsismX to prove his accusation:
"And yet they haven't loved Google Wallet which you claimed was the exact same thing and kept posting...
Reply
post #21 of 152

DOJ has gone off the deep end now ...

post #22 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Last I checked competition and choice is a good thing for us as consumers.

 

I agree with you, all Apple needs to do it allow content providers to sell at different prices elsewhere.  Apple is not dumping its hardware at cost, it can afford a cut rate war. If Amazon dumps its hardware at cost and on top of that doesnt makes a decent cut rate on content, then how the hell are they going to make money?


Edited by herbapou - 8/9/13 at 11:16am
post #23 of 152
Isn't the ability to drop prices good for the consumers ? Meaning content prices would drop right ?
post #24 of 152
Of course the DOJ would respond like this. Which is why Apple needs to go to a higher court.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #25 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

Yes I know that- but did they state Apple was involved in their executing these statements? 

I don't believe so. This is bullying on part of the DoJ. This is like saying 5 out of 5 death row inmates don't like their death sentence so they must've conspired.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #26 of 152

Except that the DOJ would have to have proof- hence the spying. Otherwise Apple should simply sue if these accusations are knowingly false. 

 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
And still waiting for SolipsismX to prove his accusation:
"And yet they haven't loved Google Wallet which you claimed was the exact same thing and kept posting...
Reply
 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
And still waiting for SolipsismX to prove his accusation:
"And yet they haven't loved Google Wallet which you claimed was the exact same thing and kept posting...
Reply
post #27 of 152

it's funny how the DOJ is handing Amazon an ebook monopoly under the guise of an Apple price fixing scandal.

post #28 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

I agree with you, all Apple needs to do it allow content providers to sell at different prices elsewhere.  Apple is not dumping its hardware at cost, it can afford a cut rate war. If Amazon dumps its hardware at cost and on top of that doesnt makes a decent cut rate on content, then how the hell is it going to make money?

Here's some good reading.

http://m.techcrunch.com/2013/08/05/bezos-not-bozos/

http://www.asymco.com/2013/08/07/the-anti-apple/

Amazon is almost like a burlesque dancer. Seems like she's going to get naked but never does, she just shows some glimpses, but men kept going just in case she did. Sometimes the perception is greater than the reality.
Edited by dasanman69 - 8/9/13 at 7:44am
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #29 of 152
FUK the DOJ
post #30 of 152
The DOJ is turning into a Socialist regime, just faster than the other parts of government, because Holder is at the helm. This is what you get when you have a government that rules with an iron fist, like China, and won't look at the evidence, and pays off the judge with bonuses and paid leave. Hopefully 2014 and 2016 elections will give us better results and we can head back towards democracy.
post #31 of 152
Do you think this petition on We the People would help? The response from the DOJ seems to be escalating out of proportion to the crime (if one did occur) and perhaps getting this visible to more people and possibly a presidential response may help.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-doj-and-save-consumer-choice-ebooks/GF68xsB7
post #32 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

" the DOJ argued that the publishers have “banded together once again.”

OK, so the DOJ is admitting that they don't know what conspiracy is. Hint: The fact that several publishers reach the same conclusion independently is NOT conspiracy.

Was it independently

And if it wasn't is that such a bad thing. Is a 'consoiracy' in this case wrong. The publishers aren't saying don't punish Apple just don't do it in a way that renigs in the deals set up as part of the settlements. Th DOJ it seems said that the publishers can use agency, can even have an MFN, can do business with Apple. Just that for a discrete period they have to let the retailers change prices and pay from that price even if it ends up being free. But that terms shorter than this Apple punishment, removes that permission to deal with Apple etc.

AND it tosses in all other forms of media. If the labels etc jump in to object are they part of the conspiracy as well.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #33 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by MistyChandra View Post

Do you think this petition on We the People would help? The response from the DOJ seems to be escalating out of proportion to the crime (if one did occur) and perhaps getting this visible to more people and possibly a presidential response may help.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-doj-and-save-consumer-choice-ebooks/GF68xsB7

Excellent idea

post #34 of 152
Reason #57 why Eric Holder should resign.
post #35 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Forcing everyone to sell at the same price is just as anticompetitive.

let's expand on that a little.....Forcing writers to take lower fees, forcing out smaller publishers,   forcing out local booksellers,  forcing a smaller ecosystem in which creativity can be ushered.   ( yes I know, a new paradigm will emerge,  someday)

 

Amazon is being propped up as the darling of price reduction....at such a cost.    

 

Some would argue that what's occurring is blind justice 

post #36 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by MistyChandra View Post

Do you think this petition on We the People would help? The response from the DOJ seems to be escalating out of proportion to the crime (if one did occur) and perhaps getting this visible to more people and possibly a presidential response may help.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-doj-and-save-consumer-choice-ebooks/GF68xsB7

I'm afraid we the people would be named as co-conspirators...

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #37 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Forcing everyone to sell at the same price is just as anticompetitive.

Well if there is only Amazon left, they will be the only ones charging a price.
post #38 of 152

One of the things that's so ridiculous about this is that about five years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that manufacturers could set minimum selling prices, not just minimum advertised prices as had been the case before the ruling.     If manufacturers can set minimum selling prices, why can't publishers?    Nikon and Sony, among others, are using that ruling to force retailers to not discount their products, especially at the high end of their lines.  

 

Not that I agree with the ruling.   Frankly, I think retailers of any kind should be able to set their own prices as long as it's not predatory.   But I do think that Amazon uses predatory techniques to squeeze others out of the market.    They frequently sell below cost to gain market share and once they do so, they raise prices to ever higher levels.   There have already been reports of shrinking discounts on Amazon.  Since the advent of Amazon, we've lost about half the bookstores in the U.S.    Borders is gone and Barnes & Noble is "quite ill".    Which might be fine if there were still strong independent stores and regional chains, but most have already been squeezed out either by the big chains or because of Amazon.

 

According to Publisher's Weekly, there are now about 12,700 bookstores left in the U.S.  (I believe this count includes bookstore "departments" within larger stores, like the book section of a Costco or WalMart.)    Before Amazon, there were over 25,000.    Missouri has the most bookstores per capita, with 6.37 bookstores per 100,000 people.   New Jersey has the least with only 2.45 bookstores per 100,000 people.  

 

IMO, the DOJ is wrong because they're only looking at the short term impact of pricing on consumers.   They need to look at both the long term impact of Amazon's pricing as well as the impact of Amazon on other businesses.     I really don't understand why the DOJ is so obsessed over this.   There are far bigger fish to fry than the price of an eBook.   Why don't they obsess over gasoline prices -- there's no shortage of oil (worldwide demand is declining in the poor economy) and gas is still priced like there was or the fraud committed by health insurance companies or the banks?

post #39 of 152
What happens of the major book publishers decide to get out of the ebook business all together? If you want to buy a book you buy either a hardback or paperback. Could the DOJ force them to sell ebooks? It would appear they are not making any profit from ebooks anyway. And I also have been reading some articles about the comeback of smaller, independent retail booksellers.
post #40 of 152

Just to be clear, from reading the gigaom article it seems that the DoJ haven't made any accusation of further illegal conspiracy, they've just publicly commented that the filings from the book publishers are indicative of a shared mindset that could lead to further anticompetitive behaviour in the future.  If that's the case, they're saying that regulators should be wary of, and perhaps takes preventative measures to prevent conspiracy and encourage competition.

 

It might be a little speculative, but I don't see anything particularly wrong with stating that as a position.  It doesn't hurt to be sceptical.

 

And on the positive side, some might say that encouraging a multi-retailer market where Amazon isn't as dominant and predatory price dumping is eliminated, might be a good way to kick off that position.

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