Five of the largest publishers in the United States have filed a motion in US District Court against the Justice Department’s proposed provisions against Apple over e-book price fixing. Reuters is reporting that publishers like HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group claim that by imposing a limit on how Apple sets its prices, it will punish them unwittingly, even after they’ve reached a settlement with the government over their role in the scheme.
The US government claims that Apple illegally conspired to raise e-book prices and sought to stop it from “committing further antitrust violations”. The head of the US Justice Dept.’s antitrust division Bill Baer said: “Under the department’s proposed order, Apple’s illegal conduct will cease, and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition.”
Under the terms of the government’s plan, Apple would end its contracts with five of the “Big Six” publishers (excluding Random House) and would be banned from entering into contracts that would raise the price of e-books sold by rivals like Amazon and Google for five years.
In addition, as Reuters reported, the company would be prohibited from cutting deals with distributors of movies, music, and TV programs for use on iOS devices that would “likely increase the prices at which rivals might sell such content.”
The five publishers involved are: Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group (USA) Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan.
Apple has called the Department of Justice’s plan a “draconian and punitive intrusion into its business” and has filed a motion opposing it.
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