Authors ask Supreme Court to overturn e-book ruling against Apple


Did antitrust investigators target the wrong company?
Photo: Apple

A group of authors and booksellers are standing by Apple in its decision to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling stating that Apple conspired to fix eBook prices when it launched its iBook store way back in January 2010.

The Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and Barnes & Noble have all banded together to file an “amicus brief” in the United States, arguing that the belief that Apple was taking place in “anti-competitive activities” was “misplaced.”

In fact, the group is arguing that, “Apple’s conduct … enhanced competition by increasing e-book output, the number of e-book titles, and the number of e-book distributors, which led to technological improvements in the e-book market and enhanced freedom of expression and access to e-books.”

Instead of focusing on Apple, the group claims that the Department of Justice should instead apply its antitrust investigations to Amazon.

“We fundamentally question the wisdom of the Second Circuit’s use of antitrust law to punish a business arrangement that demonstrably increased competition in the e-book marketplace,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild in New York. “Freedom and diversity of expression inevitably wither in a book market heavily controlled by a single player.”

Apple was first accused of conspiring with publishers to increase eBook pricing in its bookstore back in 2012. Later on, it was found to have colluded with publishers by a federal court. The company settled out of court in the price-fixing suit, in which potential damages were as much as $840 million.

In the aftermath, Apple got into a contentious ongoing battle with its price-fixing antitrust monitor, which was only recently resolved.

Source: The Bookseller



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