The Final Outcome of Apple’s E-Book Price Fixing Trial

Jasmina Lozevska August 31, 2013 0


Apple’s e-book price fixing trial has come to an end and it appears that the Department of Justice has some penalties against this company. According to the technology attorney Raymond V. Dyke, things can change and the punishment measures can become unjust. While DoJ is trying to accomplish justice, Apple loses some and wins some in this case. Let’s see what happened on this final trial that happened yesterday.

Denise Cote, US District Judge, said that Apple must hire a monitor out of its company borders in order to ensure everyone that hasn’t any connection with this e-books price fixing. This same Judge has found Apple guilty earlier when a trial was concluded. This decision has caused many penalty-related discussions between the DOJ and Apple which has brought the situation down to a suit over e-books price fixing. Apple has resisted the decision about hiring an external monitor right after both sides issued statements exposing their case arguments.

Concerning the hiring of a monitor, Robin Feldman said that it would be nothing but a pain in the neck. Cote stayed behind her words saying that the DoJ is skeptical about this company which denies it did something wrong and it must be prepared to change what it does after this trial ends.

The arguments which were brought up from both sides were really interesting. The Department of Justice has shown 3 major points:

  • External monitor is essential to ensure the final judgment
  • Apple must allow e-book retailers to place links on their own websites releasing them from paying additional fee
  • The provisions must stop Apple from conquering other content markets over similar product

The final point was not in favor of Apple because they could face a ban of selling their devices. The Department of Justice has reduced the 10-year injunction to 5 years with every right to seek extension if it suspects something. It also gave the right to Apple to fight every request when the DoJ tries for extension. The DoJ haven’t spared the five publishers that are all together with Apple in this one. It laid out a timetable for revision for the contracts that they had with this company. These publishers are MacMillan, Simon & Shuster, Penguin, HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group.

apple's e-book price fixing trial


Apple showed a weak defense fighting this case only on technicalities. It argued that filing a brief was unnecessary from the Department. It needed to file a letter instead. According to Apple, the brief was improper because it was based on already abandoned arguments by the DoJ.

If we observe these arguments, the DoJ has reacted really soft on the imposed penalties against Apple, but Anthony Michael Sabino, professor, says otherwise. Reducing a span from 10 to 5 years can’t be a sign of weakness and it’s more of a reality check because lots of things can be changed in 10 years from now. This clearly is a sign coming from the Government being reasonable regarding the future.

According to Cote, the final injunction won’t be so severe, regarding the previously known details. It won’t restrict any agreements between Apple and the suppliers of content like TV shows, music and movies. She added that the provision which lets all e-book retailers to set up a link on their websites through an app without paying anything to Apple is totally unnecessary. She expects the injunction to be issued sometime next week.

This hard trial slowly comes to an end and I think Apple is looking forward getting over with it.

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