Apple calls proposed DoJ e-book settlement “fundamentally unfair”


Apple has said in a legal memo that the US Department of Justice’s proposed settlement terms for three publishers in the ongoing ebook pricing suit brought by the DoJ are “fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented.”

The legal memo, which was filed with a New York court, will alter the terms of Apple’s contracts with the three publishers named. Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster would have their contract with Apple changed according to the settlement, effectively seeking to “terminate and rewrite Apple’s bargained for contracts before a single document has been introduced into evidence, before any witness has testified, and before the Court has resolved the disputed facts”, as Apple’s legal memo puts it.

“Once its existing contracts are terminated, Apple could not simply reinstate them after prevailing at trial. Nullifying a non-settling defendant’s negotiated contract rights by another’s settlement is fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented.”

According to the DoJ’s settlement with the publishers Apple would, for a period of two years, be unable to enter “…into new agreements that constrain retailers’ ability to offer discounts or other promotions to consumers to encourage the sale of the publishers’ e-books.”

Apple named Amazon as the “driving force” behind the investigation, saying “Amazon talked with the Government repeatedly throughout the investigation, even hosting a two-day meeting at its Seattle headquarters. In all, the Government met with at least fourteen Amazon employees—yet not once under oath. The Government required that Amazon turn over a mere 4,500 documents, a fraction of what was required of others.”

Source: Ars Technica


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