Publisher Penguin has today announced that it has reached a “comprehensive agreement” with U.S. State Attorneys General, and the private plaintiffs involved, settling for a sum of $75 million.
The move is part of an ongoing lawsuit in which various parties are accusing Apple, and some of the U.S.’ largest publishing firms of deliberately fixing iBook prices in order to marginalize Amazon. Penguin reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in December, so today’s agreement is a settlement with the 33 individual states involved in the suit. In April, Penguin also nullified its e-book pricing agreements with Apple, allowing retailers to control retail prices and discounts on e-books for the next two years.
On the deal, Steve W. Berman of Hagens Berman claimed:
“This proposed settlement is a powerful demonstration of what is possible when federal, state and private class antitrust enforcement lawyers work together…In this case, the level of cooperation was unprecedented, and the results that we were able to deliver to the states and consumers demonstrate that.”
Despite agreements being reached with the various publishers, Apple remains in staunch denial of the accusations, defending its right to use the “agency model”, where publishers set the prices of books, rather than the “wholesale model”, where it is up to the retailers to set prices, which are usually recommended by the publishers. The latter, preferred by Amazon, involves frequent undercutting of prices, which most publishers argue is harmful to the overall industry. The DOJ’s civil trial will begin on June 3.
Via: Apple Insider