Steve Berman, lead counsel in Apple eBook antitrust class-action, issues statement on U.S. DOJ action

Statement by Steve W. Berman, Hagens Berman.

We are pleased that the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Holder agreed with our analysis that Apple and some of the nation’s largest publishers engaged in anticompetitive practices.

We’ve long held that Apple and this group of book publishers formed a cabal with the sole intent of extinguishing any competitive influences in the e-book marketplace.

While Attorney General Holder’s actions, if successful, will put an end to the anticompetitive actions, our class-action is designed to pry the ill-gotten profits from Apple and the publishers and return them to consumers.

One of the main engines of our economy today is technological innovation, including devices such as the iPad and Kindle. Any company – or conspiracy of companies – trying to illegally limit the benefit of these technologies is guilty of more than anticompetitive behavior. They are guilty of stanching future innovation in the marketplace.

We are eager to move forward with our civil action against Apple and the publishers, and to show the court and the public the depth and breadth of the conspiracy they concocted at the expense of consumers.

Steve Berman, managing partner of Seattle-based Hagens Berman, filed a civil class-action complaint on Aug. 9, 2011, alleging that Apple conspired with the nation’s largest publishers to fix the price of e-books. The lawsuit seeks damages for the purchase of e-books, an injunction against pricing e-books with the agency model and forfeiture of the illegal profits received by the defendants as a result of their anticompetitive conduct which could total tens of millions of dollars. Berman was subsequently named lead counsel of the consolidated case, unifying a number of similar actions filed across the country.

Source: Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP

MacDailyNews Take: *Cough-Ambulance-chaser-cough*

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Why the market shrugged off the Apple antitrust suit – April 11, 2012
What’s wrong with the U.S. DOJ? – April 11, 2012
Macmillan CEO blasts U.S. DOJ; gov’t on verge of killing real competition for appearance of competition – April 11, 2012
;U.S. DOJ hits Apple,major publishers with antitrust lawsuit, alleges collusion on eBook prices – April 11, 2012
U.S. DOJ may sue Apple over ebook price-fixing as early as today, sources say – April 11, 2012

53 Comments

      1. Maybe Alternate confused Reality would be a more descriptive name for you!

        While i may not agree with the basis of the lawsuit, it seems to me that if those who feel an injustice has been done resolve their claims in court, that is the very essence of the way problems are settled in a civil and lawful manner.

        So your conclusion is wrong and bizarre!

        But if it makes you happy go sucjk some Republican dicks!

        1. Btmiaz… take it easy dude… if he is wrong he is wrong but you don’t have to go wrong with him like that!… Who cares about Republicans or Democrats or politics in general… what is more important is to respect each other when we talk…

          1. Bush was a “libtard?” Because the bail-outs and take-overs were his idea. Also, the caps and exclamation points and name-calling make me wonder if you’re the same anonymous account as “Proven Fact” from another thread.

            MDN: Could we have a filter that only shows comments by registered users? That would be nice.

      1. Yes like making it illegal to explore, drill, pipe new oil sites. Like taxing the living crap out of fuel and electricity. Like destroying the constitution, freedom, private property, and the US.

        Is that what you’re getting at castle-idiot? No, I didn’t think so you Libtard-Troll!

  1. Nope, this lawyer is right on the money with his analysis. What all of you forget, including MDN, is that Apple went along with the agency model only because it was the only way to get the publishers to agree to joining the iBook Store. If Apple had a choice, it would prefer open competition, as it always has. The problem with MDN, as with the other critics here, is that you want to live in a country of uber-rich plutocrats that manipulate and play the system.

    1. Renaldo – Is Jon Corzine, former CEO of Golman Sachs and former Senator and Governor of NJ, an “uber-rich plutocrat”? He sure knows how to manipulate and play the system. He just stole $1 billion in broad daylight from his own clients private accounts and as a good Democrat, he is not being prosecuted. How does it feel being part of a political party that loves “uber rich plutocrats” like Corzine and Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. But for today, especially the uber white collar criminal, Jon Corzine. You love the crooked rich, don’t you?

      1. Yep, Corzine is scum. So is Florida Governor Rick Scott, you know FORMER CEO of HCA, the ones who committed the largest ever case of medicare fraud in US history. Of course ricky walked away scott-free.

        Or perhaps we can talk about his crony-capitalist schemes as Governor. Like turning over state prisons to companies that financed his campaign.

        Or the fact that he tried to require public-aid recipients to pay for drug tests, which conveniently his wifes company performed. Turns out his presumptions were wrong and only a small minority actually failed the tests and it ended up costing the state rather than saving money.

        Or we could talk about his blind eye to prescription factories, or his stupid PIP law (No fault accidents, just increased premiums because your insurance pays even if you were not at fault.) a nice gift to insurance companies.. He’s a real peach.

        Corruption has no party.

    2. No, you’re completely wrong.. Here is an analogy that explains it perfectly…

      I run a retail store. There are several retail stores that sell the same products I do, however, I go into an agreement with the creator of the products I sell on my margin, and their prices. We agree that the best for both sides, the creator, and the seller, is to set some pricing for MY store.

      Now, store #2 down the street was the only one really selling these products for a long time.. Then along came myself and several others seling their products.. I saw that there was a risk of everyone LOSING, so we make an agreement. This agreement states how I will sell their products. If someone doesn’t like my prices, well, they can certainly get them elsewhere.. However, for myself, MY business, this agreement works so everyone can make money in MY situation..

      Then the government decides they need to intervene. They aren’t renting the space. They aren’t funding my employees. They aren’t doing anything except taking a percentage for taxes of what I sell. But now, they want to sue me, because they say Im being anti-competitive..

      Wait a minute. Im just dealing with my store. I can do with it what I like.. Its MY business. I funded it. I created it. I built it.. But now, you say because my process is different than the norm, I cant do this? Why? Its my business… Thats like telling me that because I fertilized, watered, and took care of my lawn, because it looks better than my neighbors because they didn’t take care of theirs makes me a bad person and I should be REGULATED….

      Get my drift? The government needs to step away, or this comes down to a situation where personal business freedoms go out the door.

      There are other sellers of books. They can set their prices and make their agreements as they like..

      The problem with people like you is that you think the government (especially the mindset of the guy who I actually voted for), is that they need to have their mitts in everything, when they should just focus on the few things they are there for.. NOT handling shit like this that they have no reason to be involved with..

      Government thinks it is entitled to control. They are entitled to do what is best for us, not their special interests.

      1. The government is “entitled” to do whats best for us? Like a many state? Really that is your position?

        And here I thought you guys were against “entitlements”.

        Some mental gymnastics routine you just pulled there.

        So tell me is the government meddling in abortion rights “best for us” or does it fall under the same “needs to back away” as Obama care, err Romney care part II ???

    3. It appears to me that the agency model is of benefit to Apple in that they don’t have to set the pricing for books … that is left up to the publishers. They just take their 30% of what is, by negotiated contract, the lowest available price out there. They may or may not be complicit in an effort by the publishers to force all ebook retailers into agency model pricing, but may not be complicit in any subsequent price fixing.

  2. I’m looking forward to the revelation that none of the prosecuting lawyers actually comprehend exactly what this case is about.

    From a MacWorld article:
    Some publishers settle ebook price-fixing suit

    While agreeing to the settlement, Harper Collins defended the practices of the publishers called into question by the DOJ. Those practices center on a sales practice called agency, which treats retailers as “agents” of the publisher. As such, the publishers, not the retailers, set prices for ebooks.

    “After HarperCollins adopted the agency model in 2010, the ebook market exploded, giving consumers more choices of devices, formats and prices that would never have existed but for the agency model,” the company said in a statement.

    Therefore, this lawsuit is actually about WHAT? The Agency Model killed off competition HOW? Consumers were limited in their choice of books and prices BY WHAT MEANS?

    I can buy and read Amazon offered books on my iOS devices dirt easy! I have the Kindle app! Therefore, HUH?! I certainly know how to be an ignorant dolt, but I believe I understand this issue better than the lawyers. This should be lots of fun! I think Apple is right to sit tight and not settle. I also think Apple are getting REALLY sick of the blahblah celebrity focus that comes with being the #1 company on the planet. Then again, Apple have had DECADES of Apple-HATE with which to contend. So, this is really nothing new.

    TechTardiness is RAMPANT among lawyers. 😛

    1. “I also think Apple are getting REALLY sick of the blahblah celebrity focus that comes with being the #1 company on the planet.”
      That says it all. I too, am sick of it. Ever since I became interested in Macs, and Apple, I’ve heard and taken abuse from the clueless, the haters, the competition, and now- the government?

  3. I think if Apple could get Jon Corzine to represent them they will get off scott free. The DoJ likes Jon Corzine. He stole over a billion dollars from small farmers and grain elevator owners MF Global private accounts and the DoJ is letting him skate with the dough. He is a Democrat, and of course that helps. You don’t have to actually obey the law if you are a Democrat with Eric Holder minding the store. So, Tim Cook, hire Jon Corzine to represent you and all charges will be dropped.

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