DOJ Doesn’t Think eBooks Are Exempt from “Antitrust Laws”

Comparing publishers and Apple to railroads and oil companies, The Department of Justice released a court filing in the case against Apple and three publishers claiming, that “suggestions that the antitrust laws are of no use when it comes to e-books are especially remarkable in light of the unmistakable consumer harm that resulted from the conspiracy in this case.”

Here is an excerpt from the court filing archived by (PDF version): “While e-books are a relatively new arrival on the publishing scene, a plea for special treatment under the antitrust laws is an old standby. Railroads, publishers, lawyers, construction engineers, health care providers, and oil companies are just some of the voices that have raised cries against “ruinous competition” over the decades. Time and time again the courts have rejected the invitation to exempt particular businesses from the reach of the Sherman Act.”

Last week, Apple said that it will not settle the case and hopes to go to trial.