US Justice Department Proposes Remedy In E-Books Case

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By Alessandro Marongiu for Intellectual Property Watch

The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) today announced its remedy proposal to address Apple’s anticompetitive conduct to raise e-book prices. The proposal follows a July decision by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York finding that Apple conspired with five major publishers to fix the prices of e-books in the United States.

The proposed remedy would require Apple to terminate its agreements with the five publishers – namely Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, which does business as Macmillan, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Simon & Schuster Inc. – and to refrain for five years from entering into similar agreements, the Department said in a release.

The proposal also provides for measures facilitating the comparison between Apple’s e-book prices with those of its competitors as well as a court-appointed external monitor  to ensure that Apple’s internal antitrust compliance policies are sufficient to catch anticompetitive practices before they can harm consumers.

The Department has already reached settlements with four publishers and final approval of the Macmillan settlement is pending before the court.

The DOJ remedy document can be found here [pdf]. Exhibit documents from the USDOJ can be found herehere, here, and here.

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