Federal Judge Grants Class Action Status to E-Book Pricing Lawsuit

iBooksA federal judge has granted class action status to a group of plaintiffs suing Apple over its antitrust collusion with publishers to increase the price of e-books, reports Reuters. The judge, Denise Cote, is the same judge who oversaw the antitrust case against Apple by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Judge Cote has been accused by Apple of overstepping her judicial authority by giving a court-appointed monitor wide authority at Apple to interview and make changes at the company. Apple requested that the lawyer chosen to serve as the monitor be disqualified, saying he had over-stepped his bounds by asking for lawyer-less meetings with key Apple executives and board members. That request was denied at appeal.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said the plaintiffs had "more than met their burden" to allow them to sue as a group. She rejected Apple's contentions that the claims were too different from each other, or that some plaintiffs were not harmed because some e-book prices fell.
Some have estimated that Apple could owe as much as $500 million after being found guilty in the Federal antitrust case, with more judgements possible in this class-action suit if the plaintiffs are successful.

This class action suit applies only to consumer plaintiffs in the states where the governments have not already sued Apple. Previously, 33 states and territories sued Apple on behalf of their consumers, seeking more than $800 million in damages.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

8 months ago
Rating: 7 Votes
8 months ago
Ah, yes, the bizzaro world of Judge Denise Cote, where the Sherman Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Act) is used to grant an ebook monopoly to Amazon.
Rating: 5 Votes
8 months ago

Oh boy. Get ready for the upset people frothing at the mouths because Apple is getting sued.


Moderators apparently didn't agree with me, but it is a disgusting strategy to preemptively insult everyone who dares having a different point of view than you have.
Rating: 5 Votes
8 months ago
This case continues to boggle the mind. Apple and the publishers tries to pre-empt the Amazon monopoly. The federal government sues to preserve the Amazon monopoly. And now everyone is getting free credits as compensation for someone daring to break the Amazon monopoly.

I wouldn't be surprised if IBM wanted their monopoly back. :eek:
Rating: 5 Votes
8 months ago
Eliminate class action lawsuits completely. Only the scummy lawyers make money. I get invites to be part of class action lawsuits all the time. Just got notice in the mail the other day that after being sued for 7 years, a company which I used to own shares in settled for $60 million, 33% of which will go to the lawyers. Class action lawsuits just make the price of all products go up. Plaintiffs get a few dollars, maybe a $100 if they are lucky, while scummy lawyers get millions and some even get in the hundreds of millions in jackpot class action lawsuits like tobacco. Lawyers are lower than the lowest form of parasite.
Rating: 4 Votes
8 months ago

So it should be legal for companies to collude?


Should it be illegal for companies to break up a monopoly by providing MORE COMPETITION in the market place?

Remember that Amazon had 90% of the ebook market by FORCING the publishers to sell their $15 bestsellers at a LOST for $10. Ninety percent of anything is a monopoly.

Apple and the publishers changed the rule of the game. Amazon now has ~60% of ebook market due to COMPETITION with Apple, Barnes & Noble and many smaller ebook retailers. Publishers can set whatever prices they want for their ebooks.

As a writer and ebook publisher, MORE COMPETITION is a good thing.
Rating: 3 Votes
8 months ago
Serious question, why isn't there a different judge deciding this instead of Cote?

Logically, she should be the last option on the list of federal judges to be selected on this case considering that she just issued a judgment against Apple in the same case. To make it fair and just, a different judge should determine this, not Cote.

I'm not familiar with how the judges are picked but does anybody here know?
Rating: 3 Votes
8 months ago

I'm not sure why you're blaming the customers because that's what it sounds like to me.

If the government is saying that those major publishers intentionally bumped up the price illegally, and the affected customers paid too much, then those customers definitely should've gotten some credits. Why should those companies have the extra money they don't deserve?

A slap on the wrist means nothing to these companies, they shouldn't have those cash in the first place. A slap on the wrist also means they'd do it again if it cost them nothing.

Also, I don't know why you're including Amazon here, Amazon isn't guilty of anything here. The only guilty party is Apple, nobody else and the credit isn't from Apple either. Apple's passing on the credits from those publishers because you bought the books on the iBooks store.


As I understand it the publishers got together around a table and agreed on the price fixing -- clearly illegal and so they should indeed get slapped around. Apple was not at the table, but they did approach the publishers and essentially say, "hey, in the app business we let you set the price, but we take a 30% commission for selling and distributing the book through our channel." In my mind there is nothing illegal here. Otherwise thy would have already been shut down in their app store. Yet the court basically says, "well, it's okay in the app store, but it's not okay in the book store." This to me makes not sense.

I agree with you that Amazon has no place here. Apple did not want to follow Amazon's model and they went with a model that had worked for them. The customers were not affected by either model because they could choose where to buy the book. The only issue is if the publisher refused to sell through Amazon in order to sell at a higher price through Apple.

However, in all of this I see nothing that Apple did wrong. My biggest concern is that if this ends up going through all the way to the supreme court, at some point someone will say, "based on the precedence set by the book store, the app store is wrong too. Oh and then lets talk about the music store, and the moving store, etc." Essentially this could completely derail the model that Apple is using across all it channels. This could be very bad for all of us.
Rating: 2 Votes
8 months ago

I got my $54 back from Barnes and Noble, which I am not complaining about. However, I think this class action lawsuit is BS. I paid for the ebook what I thought it was worth at the POS. If I thought ebooks were too expensive I wouldn't have paid for it and neither would anyone else.


Not that I necessarily agree with the judgement, but your logic is flawed. You might be willing to pay up to $x for a specific item, but you would prefer to pay less. Because of some illegal practice, you may have been forced to pay closer to your maximum than you would have if the market were allowed to work freely. That's $y out of your pocket. I'm sorry if I made an incorrect assumption in believing you would have rather paid less for the exact same item. If I'm wrong about that, please, let's connect; because I would love to be doing business with you. :)
Rating: 2 Votes
8 months ago

Oh boy. Get ready for the upset people frothing at the mouths because Apple is getting sued.

Now, if the news was reversed, and the judge declined class action status, this would have been on the front page and not the sidebar. :apple:


Not really but this is putting the cart before the horse. I believe they should go through the upcoming appeals process before green lighting people to sue. As it is now, Apple is stuck paying the large monitor cost even if they win the appeal.
Rating: 2 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]