Settlement Approved Between DOJ & Three Publishers

By Jason Boog Comment

U.S. District Court judge Denise Cote has approved the eBook settlement struck between Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins and the Department of Justice.

The New York Times has the scoop: “The settlement approved on Thursday called for the publishers to end their contracts with Apple within one week. The publishers must also terminate contracts with e-book retailers that contain restrictions on the retailer’s ability to set the price of an e-book or contain a so-called ‘most favored nation’ clause, which says that no other retailer is allowed to sell e-books for a lower price.”

The judge quoted an immortal poem in her decision (embedded below): “there can be no denying the importance of books and authors in the quest for human knowledge and creative expression, and in supporting a free and prosperous society. To quote Emily Dickinson: ‘There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us Lands away, / Nor any Coursers like a Page / Of prancing Poetry /–This Traverse may the poorest take /Without oppress of Toll /–How frugal is the Chariot /  That bears a Human soul.’ Clearly, this is no ordinary Tunney Act proceeding.”

Earlier this year, Cote denied both Apple’s and publishers‘ motion to dismiss the suit alleging Apple and major publishers colluded to set eBook prices.

In April, those three publishers decided to settle (without admitting any wrongdoing) instead of fighting the DOJ suit in court. Here is an excerpt from HarperCollins’ April statement about the settlement: “HarperCollins faced legal challenges on five separate fronts, including the DOJ investigation which was resolved today. The e-book market has grown over the last two years from a small e-ink market, dominated by one platform, to a $1B market with several competing platforms. HarperCollins made a business decision to settle the DOJ investigation in order to end a potentially protracted legal battle.” (Via Edward Champion)

Judge’s Opinion in U.S. v. Apple, Inc., et al. Settlement