Publishers object to DoJ Apple ruling

Publishers object to DoJ Apple ruling

Publishers have united to object to new Department of Justice constraints against Apple, following the company's defeat in the e-book price-fixing case.

Last week, the DoJ sought to increase the punishment against Apple, demanding that it agrees to five years with no agency model, rather than two as previously stated, and allow other e-book retailers to sell directly through their iOS apps for two years without paying a commission on the sales.

HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin Random House, which all settled with the DoJ before the case came to court, have now filed objections to the new proposed terms, arguing that these would damage them as much as Apple.

Their filing said: "Under the guise of punishing Apple, they effectively punish the settling defendants by prohibiting agreements with Apple using an agency model." It added that the terms: "unreasonably and unnecessarily restrains the settling defendants' independent business decisions beyond the scope and time provided for in their respective consent decrees".

It also argued that the new terms seek to impose what the DoJ originally wanted to impose on publishers, five years without agency, which was reduced to two in order to reach a settlement. The publishers said that the the changes "reduce the incentives of future defendants to enter negotiated consent decrees".

They added that the DoJ was: "attempting to impose a specific business model on the publishing industry, despite their express and repeated representations that they would play no such role".

Apple has also objected to the DoJ's new terms, calling the moves "draconian and punitive". The online giant said the measures are: "an intrusion into Apple's business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm".

The DoJ however insisted the requirements were "not unduly burdensome, and allows Apple to compete vigorously and lawfully, thereby balancing the goal of minimal invasiveness with remedial objectives".