Trade Resources Market View Who Bought E-Books Between Apple and Five Major Publishers May Be Eligible to Payments

Who Bought E-Books Between Apple and Five Major Publishers May Be Eligible to Payments

Customers who bought e-books during a period of alleged price-fixing between Apple and five major publishers may be eligible to compensation payments.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has announced that a $95m fund is being built from settlement money being agreed between the publishers and State Attorneys General, who were joined by individual consumers.

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Of the five publishers - HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan - the first three have already settled and the latter two have now agreed to do so. While Apple continues to be pursued by lawsuits, consumers are already being encouraged to exercise their rights, or otherwise sit tight and expect a refund to arrive automatically from a retailer.

The price-fixing is alleged to have taken place back in 2010, around the release of Apple's first iPad, when it was thought those involved could capitalise on a sudden boost in popularity of e-book downloads.

A paper on the matter released by the District Court also explains how Macmillan and Penguin have agreed to "end certain agreements" relating to the sale of e-books that were put in place before 11 April , 2012, as well as no longer to place restrictions on retailers' ability to offer discounts on e-books for two years.

The two publishers have also agreed to no longer share "sensitive competitive information" with other publishers for five years, and "train appropriate people in their companies about antitrust laws and regulations" - with an inference that Macmillan and Penguin must have provided insufficient staff knowledge as reason for possible collusion in price fixing.

The results of a $95m fund could see individual consumers receiving as much as $3.06 per book.

Apple's punishment - after being found guilty of price-fixing in July 2013 and being accused of "orchestration of this conspiracy" - is to be made to hire an internal antitrust compliance officer, as well as sever its contractual links with major publishers for five years.

Apple and the five major publishers are still contesting the decision, the publishers alleging that banning trade with Apple, on top of the other restrictions, would be "punishing them twice".

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E-Book Buyers May Receive Compensation Payments After Apple Price-Fixing Settlement