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DOJ May Sue Apple & Publishers Over eBook Pricing

According to a bombshell report in the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Justice could sue Apple and five major publishers  for breaking antitrust laws with agency model pricing for eBooks.

A number of civil lawsuits have also been filed against Apple, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA), Macmillan and HarperCollins for allegedly colluding to fix eBook prices in 2010. Some of these publishers have already spoken with the DOJ in hopes of striking a settlement before the case ever reached court.

Here’s more from the article: “William Lynch, chief executive of Barnes & Noble, gave a deposition to the Justice Department in which he testified that abandoning the agency pricing model would effectively result in a single player gaining even more market share than it has today, according to people familiar with the testimony. A spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble declined to comment.”

If you want to explore some of the legal issues behind the potential suit, consumer rights firm Hagens Berman filed the first agency model lawsuit in 2011–alleging that the agency model for eBook pricing is “in violation of a variety of federal and state antitrust laws, the Sherman Act, the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Act.”

In court filings, the firm speculated that damages “could total tens of millions of dollars.”

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