U.S. Justice Department slams Apple, refuses to modify e-book settlement

“The Justice Department released a document today that characterized criticism by Apple and publishers of a controversial price-fixing settlement as ‘self-serving’ and ill-founded,” Jeff John Roberts reports for paidContent.

“The primary upshot is that the Department is refusing to modify any parts of the settlement agreement despite about 800 comments in opposition to the deal and new political opposition from people like Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY),” Roberts reports. “In its filing, Justice says it addresses Apple’s objections at length because of ‘[Apple’s] central role in the events leading to the underlying enforcement action.’ It also quotes an incident in which Steve Jobs reportedly told publishers, ‘the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.'”

Roberts reports, “The Justice Department’s filing largely skates away from issues related to Amazon’s role in the e-book market. It states that public comments suggesting it sue Amazon for abuse of dominant market power or address issues of online sales tax issues are beyond the scope of the antitrust action… The next step in the case is for the proposed settlement to go before Judge Denise Cote who will decide in coming months whether to approve it, reject it or delay approval pending a more detailed fact-finding investigation. In the meantime, the court case against Apple and the publishers will continue as will as a parallel case brought by class action lawyers and state governments seeking tens of millions in damages. Judge Cote has so far appeared hostile to Apple and the non-settling publishers. In refusing to dismiss part of the related case, she referred to Apple and Steve Jobs helping publishers to ‘collude.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve said from the very beginning of this fiasco: “The U.S. DOJ is plainly inept.”

[Attribution: Daring Fireball. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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Apple’s U.S. e-books antitrust case set for 2013 trial – June 24, 2012
U.S. government complains, claims Apple trying to rush e-books antitrust case – June 21, 2012
Barnes & Noble blasts U.S. DOJ e-book settlement proposal – June 7, 2012
Apple: U.S. government’s e-book antitrust lawsuit ‘is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law’ – May 24, 2012
Federal Judge rejects Apple and publishers’ attempt to dismiss civil case alleging e-book price-fixing – May 15, 2012
Court documents reveal Steve Jobs email pushing e-book agency model; 17 more states join class action suit – May 15, 2012
Apple vs. Amazon: Who’s really fixing eBook prices? – April 17, 2012
Apple: U.S. DOJ’s accusation of collusion against iBookstore is simply not true – April 12, 2012
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16 U.S. states join DOJ’s eBook antitrust action against Apple, publishers – April 12, 2012
Australian gov’t considers suing Apple, five major publishers over eBook pricing – April 12, 2012
DOJ’s panties in a bunch over Apple and eBooks, but what about Amazon? – April 12, 2012
Antitrust experts: Apple likely to beat U.S. DOJ, win its eBook lawsuit – April 12, 2012
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47 Comments

        1. Obama’s Justice Department gives automatic weapons so Drug Cartel goons will kill people. This is a policy they actually developed. They also encourage abuse of the voting laws to help their chances. As a policy. They don’t prosecute Jon Corzine, former CEO Goldman Sachs, former Democrat Governor and Senator of NJ, and recent CEO of MF Global, for stealing $2 billion from small investor private accounts. And of course, the other day Obama said Steve Jobs did not create Apple, but the government was responsible for creating Apple. Get used to it – we live in Soviet America. This is what happens when you let a cool, non-accomplished drug abusing communist be President. Oh well, the Cuban health care system won’t be that bad.

          1. 1) Fast and Furious was started under Bush. 2) They haven’t prosecuted Corzine YET. Lawsuits are in process. Bush gave a man convicted of outing a serving undercover CIA agent a free pardon – a man whose actions were directly responsible for the deaths of numerous people who had helped the US. 3) Obama said nothing of the sort, unless you leave out more than half of the sentence that he actually said.
            You Republicans are America hating fascist pigs who want corporations to rule the world, you want an underclass of poor people with no health care, and you want a ministry of truth where anyone who disagrees with you is jailed.
            Sound ridiculous? No more ridiculous than your inane rants. Now fuck off back to Fox and Friends.

            1. You are wrong. Eric Holder lied to Congress when he said it started under Bush. He retracted it later, and then continued to lie and withhold documents. So he was voted in contempt. The documents to prove this either way could all be made available to congress so Holder could prove the republicans wrong, but,he won’t release the documents because they prove this was Obamas idea. But say it was Bush idea, which it wasn’t why did Obama give thousand of guns to drug cartel goons with no means or intention of tracking. Hundreds have been killed by this moronic idea which Obama wanted to use to increase crime that could be blamed on guns from the US. This is what sociopaths do. He is an admitted communist who admires Mao, and Castro and Che. But then so probably are you.

            2. Holder did lie to Congress and needs to be fired and jailed. I’m not an ideologue from either the conservative or liberal side, but I can’t vote for Obama unless he fires Holder. I can’t vote for Romney either because I strongly disagree with everything he espouses. Guess I’ll just stay home on election day.

            3. Fascism is a liberal political philosophy. It’s amazing how American Progressives demonize the successful and wealthy–just like the National Socialists demonized the Jews.

            4. One of the ways fascists (German progressives of the 30s and 40s) gained control was by vilifying and intimidating those who opposed them in the marketplace of ideas. It’s remarkably similar to what American progressives do today when they rant against Fox or Rush, or those who ascribe to conservative principles.

            5. And characterizing someone as a whore on national radio because they dared to testify before Congress is not vilifying and intimidating, eh? Rush and his ilk make money by giving the inferior somebody to whom they can feel superior. It’s the same mechanism as racism in the deep south in the 1950’s. And it’s just as cowardly.

  1. Sorry DOJ but predatory pricing (Amazon selling below cost to remove other competitors from the market) is an anti-trust issue and doesn’t get much more blatant.

    1. +1
      The DOJ should review the definition as defined by the FTC, http://www.ftc.gov/bc/antitrust/predatory_pricing.shtm.

      Specifically- “Pricing below your own costs is also not a violation of the law unless it is part of a strategy to eliminate competitors, and when that strategy has a dangerous probability of creating a monopoly for the discounting firm so that it can raise prices far into the future and recoup its losses.”

      Whether or not raising pricing in the future was part of their strategy we’lllikely never know. What we do know is they did not want competition for their Kindle and that was the reason for the low book pricing.

    2. The DOJ is obviously directed to waste time and distract the public by going after a popular target, Apple. That’s to provide to cover for the real crooks controlling the government and pillaging the taxpayer. The banksters will have either Obama or Romney in their pockets and will be above the law, because apparently US citizens love to be raped. Hillary, McCain, Ron Paul, the current Green Party or Libertarian Party candidates have been or are being ignored, because people throughout history love misery. The votes seem to say that.

  2. When people of questionable character are put in charge of the highest law enforcement organization in the land, they assume everyone is just as shady as they are. Attorney General Holder would do well to observe Apple’s openness with regard to this matter and do likewise with his own gun running debacle.

    1. As I have pointed out repeatedly, to be fair you have to look to his boss (for both the gun running and for the e-books debacle) The AG does not call his own shots. (not the the big ones anyhow)

  3. Does the DOJ want Apple and others to come to it to set prices and distribution methods? I seem to recall anther government that used a similar model and the US was very against that government. ( for those readers who are not up on it, that was the USSR)

  4. What is wrong with Steve Jobs saying ‘the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.’”? There’s nothing evil in that statement and of course the publishers want more to fund their operation properly. And in fact it only effects a few titles anyway. Must ado about nothing. I sure hope the DOJ gets it’s comeuppance for this. This kind of justice misbehavior needs to be put down harshly.

    1. Dont count on it, there are so many millions of brainless morons walking the streets of America, voting for this clown, just because he has black skin and they have been brainwashed by the left owned and operated media to believe that Rommney ie evil, because he was once the CEO of a successful company.

      I mean you gotta be evil if you re the CEO of successful company… at least in the current America that is.

  5. one disturbing thing is that so few publishers and writers are voicing their concern about Amazon’s grip on ebooks and thus their earnings. Apple’s method would have given them , many of them already struggling financially, more money.

    Shows how little courage people have. Even writers and publishers who would get on a soap box on everything from crime, to politics to global warming etc. shut the heck up when they think voicing up will hurt themselves (amazon’s book business and DOJ are so powerful they seem terrified of them). Publishers and writers seem terrified that Amazon will drop them and they are letting apple do all the fighting.

    Steve Jobs always had true courage to forge ahead like when he stood against mobile Flash (which now adobe has dropped). NONE of the mobile OEMs like HTC, Motorola etc had the Balls.

    Apple’s agency model is good for publishers and writers yet apple seems to be standing virtually alone with just a couple of other publishers. Where are the hordes of authors who are being maimed by Amazon’s pricing? Dudes if apple loses and amazon keeps it’s 80% grip on ebooks you guys will have your financial lives totally controlled by Amazon…

    1. There’s actually been quite a few authors who have gone on record supporting the agency model. The problem here is that you have an agency that has no problem flying in the face of the public sentiment. Even Chuck Schumer – a Democrat – said “Rarely have I seen a suit that so ill serves the interests of the consumer.”

      The DoJ has set its sights on Apple, which is fine with me. As you can see by reading Apple’s response to the original DoJ filing, Apple has no qualms about calling bullshit on their claims. I look forward to a public shaming of these clueless chumps.

      I put together the full back-and-forth between the DoJ and Apple’s “round 1” here:

      http://themacadvocate.com/2012/05/24/the-department-of-justice-vs-apple-inc-view-the-complete-blow-by-blow/

      1. @TheMacAdvocate,
        Thanks for putting together that DOJ/Apple back-and-forth! That’s a great service. I hope you keep adding as new stuff comes out, like direct links to the info in this article.
        🙂

      2. there are thousands of authors, way too few of them are making noise.

        compare their protests for example to the anti apple Foxconn explosion.

        where are the organized protests? etc. Making a few comments like “I think the agency model is a good idea” , signing a few tepid letters of support, while trying to keep out of the limelight and thus attract amazon’s ire is gutless.

        everyone knows to REALLY fight something today is OPTICS (getting publicity, making a splash — go ask Greenpeace).

        Majority of authors seem paralyzed (amazon sells more books for them then anybody and getting cut will be disaster) and their response has been mush (Note many authors and pubishers are Publicity EXPERTS, they know how to make a splash when promoting their books with book signings, displays, conferences, talk show appearances, interviews etc — so their response here is half hearted at best).

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