Yet more news has developed in the DOJ’s case against Apple and several book publishers over their alleged collusion to price-fix e-books, or what we like to call The Never-ending Lawsuit That is Slowly Choking the Fun out of Reading.
This week, Apple filed this statement with the Southern District Court of New York, which argues that it is “fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented” to require the company to terminate its existing contracts with the publishers, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins, who have settled with the DOJ.
Oh, and Apple isn’t settling with the government either. The company is pushing for its case to go to trial, saying that it has never participated in collusion to price-fix e-books and that the DOJ has no right to ask for the termination of its contracts with the three settled publishers “before a single document has been introduced into evidence, before any witness has testified, and before the Court has resolved the disputed facts.”
Apple contends that Amazon brought the whole issue to the attention of the DOJ and is unfairly going without scrutiny into its own business practices and possible e-book price-fixing.
In a footnote in the memo, Apple argues that critics of the lawsuit — authors, publishers, booksellers and more —have “expressed concerns about the possibility that the Government has unwittingly placed a thumb on the scales in favor of Amazon, the industry monopolist. Amazon was the driving force behind the Government’s investigation, and it told a story to the Government that has yet to be scrutinized.”
Apple goes on to write that Amazon was a source for the DOJ throughout the case, even hosting a “two-day meeting at its Seattle headquarters,” and that Amazon only had to “turn over a mere 4,500 documents, a fraction of what was required of others.”
While Apple contends that Amazon held some Operation Neptune Spear Osama bin Laden type talks behind closed doors with Uncle Sam, others in the publishing industry filed their own oppositions to the DOJ settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Penguin and Macmillan, who are both still fighting the DOJ lawsuit, and the Authors Guild, as a friend of the court, asked for more investigation into Amazon, being that “the narrative shared by Macmillan and others is that Amazon engaged in predatory pricing,” according to paidcontent.org.
The trial is set for summer 2013, but honestly, like a “Real Housewives” extended marathon reunion, we don’t know how much more of this we can take.
The full memo is below: