Apple makes good on vow, appeals ebook price-fix ruling

Gregg Keizer
7 October, 2013
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Apple has appealed a decision by a federal judge who ruled the Cupertino, California company must be monitored by a watchdog for two years after conspiring to fix ebook prices.

In July, US District Court Judge Denise Cote found Apple guilty of violating antitrust laws by plotting with major publishers to set industry-wide prices.

The verdict resulted in an injunction that prohibited Apple from disclosing deals it struck with one ebook publisher to others – a way to prevent it from again colluding on prices – and required that its behaviour be overseen by an on-site compliance officer for 24 months. Cote will decide on what damages Apple must pay in early 2014.

Previously, Apple had vowed to appeal Cote’s ruling.

“Apple also hereby appeals from any and all orders and rulings that were adverse to it, whether or not subsumed within the 6 September 2013 Final Judgement, including – without limitation – this Court’s 10 July 2013 Opinion and Order as well as other rulings on liability, admissibility of evidence and certain discovery requests,” the company’s lawyers said in a notice of appeal filed with the US District Court, Southern District of New York.

Appeals in that district are handled by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is located in New York City.

The case began in 2012 when the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused Apple and five major US book publishers of conspiring to raise ebook prices two years earlier, part of an effort to stymie Amazon.com from selling bestselling electronic books for just US$9.99.

Although the publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster – settled out of court before the trial began in June, Simon & Schuster also filed a notice of appeal today.

The DOJ was not available for comment, since its offices have been closed as part of the Federal Government shutdown.

by Greg Keizer, Computerworld

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