Apple Criticizes DoJ Over E-Book Collusion Trial

Posted Aug 16, 2012

Apple has criticized the U.S. Department of Justice over a settlement that was made with several book publishers as part of an ongoing trial that revolves around price fixing.  Apple is arguing that a settlement would nullify their existing contracts with companies like Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster before a witness could be called in to testify and before the court has reviewed the details of the case.

“[Apple] has no objection to the Proposed Judgment?s bar on collusion,” said Apple’s attorneys in a court filing (PDF). “But the Government proposes to go much further. It seeks 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.”

The Department of Justice has settled with the three book publishers, but they plan to proceed a case against Apple and two other publishers, Macmillan and Penguin.  The book publishers that made the settlement have agreed to cut their established contracts for two years, which place restrictions on price discounts and promotions.

“Nullifying a non-settling defendant’s negotiated contract rights by another’s settlement is fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented,” said Apple. “The Government does not cite a single case in which such relief was granted without a trial or merits determination.”