Last week Puerto Rico and 16 US states filed litigation against Apple Inc and 3 major publishers at the Texas federal court. The lawsuit claims that the publishers conspired with consumer electronics giant Apple to raise e-book prices artificially. The publishers are trying to settle the claim as quickly as possible.
Lawyers for HarperCollins of News Corp and Hachette Book Group belonging to Lagardere SCA (MMB) informed Denise Cote, the US District judge, that a MOU (memorandum of understanding) has been signed between the publishers and, 15 states and Puerto Rico. At the court hearing in Manhattan on Wednesday, attorneys for both the publishers seemed hopeful about being able to reach an agreement with all fifty US states over the next sixty days.
CBS Corp’s Simon and Schuster Inc. is another major publisher facing litigation. Attorney for the firm stated that the company is actively working towards an agreement similar to the one struck by HarperCollins and Hachette. The state litigation also mentions Penguin and Macmillan. Lawyers for these publishers and Apple have stated that they are prepared for a fight with the Department of Justice.
According to the lawsuit, the chief executives of these major publishing firms regularly got together to find a way to counter Amazon.com’s steep discounting. The suit further alleges that Apple contacted these publishers just before iPad launch in 2010 suggesting adoption of ‘agency’ model to raise e-book prices.
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