Class Action Lawsuit for E-Book Price-Fixing Settled for $69 Million
Three major e-book publishers have agreed to pay $69 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”). The suit was brought in April 2010, based on allegations that six major e-book publishers had engaged in illegal price-fixing by conspiring with one another to fix and maintain the price of digital books. According to the DOJ, the publishers prevented retail price competition resulting in consumers paying millions of dollars more for their e-books.
Three of the six publishers– Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc.– have agreed to pay restitution in the form of a refund to consumers who purchased agency-priced e-books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. The publishers deny any wrongdoing say that their actions “were merely parallel, unilateral, or justified by market forces and completely legal.” A federal judge approved the settlement earlier this week. The case against the non-settling publishers – Penguin and MacMillan and Apple, Inc. – remains pending in the Southern District of New York.