Apple Wants Trial in iBooks Antitrust Case

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ibooks icon2An Apple lawyer has said it wants a trial to defend itself in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice over the pricing of e-books. Apple's attorney said the company "would like the case to be decided on the merits".

Apple Inc wants to go to trial to defend itself against U.S. government allegations that it conspired with publishers to raise prices of electronic books, a lawyer for the Silicon Valley giant said in court on Wednesday.

Two publishers took a similar stance in the first hearing in Manhattan federal court since the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice last week accused Apple and five publishers of colluding to break up Amazon.com's low-cost dominance of the digital book market.

The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for June 22. Apple has previously come out strongly against the lawsuit, with a spokesperson saying the accusations against the company were "simply not true."

Top Rated Comments

BigJayhawk Avatar
114 months ago
Because it's not "dirty laundry" perhaps?

In this case, Monopolies are designed to hurt competition -- usually meaning that one company exerts undue controll on the market to be able to arbitrarily set pricing for the whole industry based not on competition but on something that benefits the company in question.

Apple's point in all of this is that "competition" in this market is in distribution and quality of product more so than JUST PRICE. In fact, Amazon was stifling honest competition in these area by focusing SOLELY on price which it was arbitrarily placing at LOWER THAN COST in the hopes that customers will buy the "loss leader" e-books and stay to buy a stereo or something of the sort. This was destroying competition in the e-books segment by basturdizing the entire industry to help another unrelated industry.

ON THE MERITS, Apple likely feels that the spirit of the law in the first place is being served better by the publishers setting prices than it was by the "free market" (ie ONLY Amazon) setting prices and destroying the industry in the process.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vrDrew Avatar
114 months ago

Why would Apple want all their dirty laundry thrown out there for everyone to see?


If you were accused of crime you didn't commit, would you simply plead guilty (and accept the fine and jail time) just to avoid the publicity?

Anti-Trust law is complicated to begin with. Add in the complications brought about by the development of e-books, and things begin to look a lot less black-and-white than the DoJ would like people to believe. This is about a lot more than just people's "right" (was there ever such a thing?) to get cheap copies of NY Times Bestsellers.

Apple wants a trial because it believes that it didn't orchestrate a conspiracy. Or, to be more legally accurate, it doesn't think the Government can really prove that it did.

A trial will typically be decided by a Jury. What do you think the chances are that you are going to find twelve citizens who buy all of their books as digital downloads for their Kindles? My guess is - pretty much zero.

The TechNerds who make up a big fraction of MR's readership need to understand that not everyone in the world sees things the way they do.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
114 months ago
LTD - I believe you are wrong. The public sector for which ebook pricing (and it's quite large) is important has been VERY vocal about their dissatisfaction of pricing. So while it might not be the full on masses - this case is very important and will affect anyone who has an ipad, kindle, sony e-reader and any other device which can read an ebook on.

People aren't just yelling "give me more Apple gear" - they are yelling "Why am I paying more for this book than before? Or more than the cover price?" and so on.

I know you'll defend Apple right down to the core no matter what - but this is yet another instance where you come off ridiculous in your commentary.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NERunner Avatar
114 months ago
Could not agree more.

Yeah, sure, Apple, the corporation with more cash reserves than the entire African continent, is the saint and is only trying to protect us all from the evil competitors. I get it.

On the merits, do you know what Amazon did for ALL authors on this planet? They freed writers from the power of the publishing houses by making them OBSOLETE. Yes, Amazon successfully destroyed the TRADITIONAL publishing industry and replaced it with something MODERN. Amazon did some incredibly great there for the benefit of all writers AND readers.

Yes, this new order totally sucks for the old publishing houses. Just like the invention of mp3 and file sharing sucks for record labels and now even the movie industry.

Technology has evolved, their business models haven't. The process is called selection - either adept or become extinct.

Anyway. In your next lesson, you Apple's business model is better for consumers than Amazon's. At least Amazon gives me a free choice on which platform I want to read my eBooks - they don't care whether it's an iOS gadget, an Android or a Windows device, their Kindle readers or even a web browser using read.amazon.com. They also give their authors the choice whether they want to publish free of DRM or with DRM.

Apple only lets me read on iOS gadgets. They don't even support their own OS X platform. They try to get exclusive content by adding dubious licensing conditions to their iBooks Author software.

What again were the merits of Apple's offerings?


Finally, after reading a couple a dozen comments, someone here is a voice of reason. Don't get me wrong, I love Apple products, but to support Apple in this case and label them as some kind of David up against the DOJ and Amazon Goliaths is hilarious. Amazon is indeed transforming the publishing industry and the industry dinosaurs have declared Jihad against the company. When I see prices for e-books sometimes going for almost double the soft back price (see Theodore White's series, Making of the President, for one example) something is not right with the e-book pricing.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rocketman Avatar
114 months ago

Does DOJ have an internal affairs department, and is it actively investigating the unfortunate Mexican gun running case?

I do believe we need a DOJ, but under some Presidential administrations, it is subject to more political pressure than others. I think we can both agree we are at a high water mark for that.

...do you care to outline any of these political motivations...?

What examples of political pressure...?

Here is an example, the Kim Dotcom case:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/04/21/165248/us-judge-say-kim-dotcom-may-never-be-tried-or-extradited

Shouldn't he be "made whole" since the investigation is irrepairably ended?

Again I repeat, does the DOJ have an internal affairs department?

Here we see the NSA running roughshod over the constitution and bill of rights:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/07/analysis-pendin/

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/03/warrantless-eavesdropping/?utm_source=Contextly&utm_medium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=Previous

As I posted in another forum regarding this practice:

I think its existence and scope are now pretty well known. My view is that since one cannot unring the bell on this technology and practice, what is needed is a law or a ruling, that says any such information collected cannot be used for a criminal claim against a sovereign citizen of the country. Further that any damages caused by its collection or use subjects the government to pay money damages. The many lawsuits closed because it may disclose state secrets bars folks from recoveries they are otherwise entitled to. Under common law practice, when someone is damaged by act of the state, the state should compensate them for that. This is commonly seen in the takings clause and also in the area of eminent domain and easements. Money changes hands to compensate for the loss.That currently does not happen in these cases and should.

This sort of law (or practice or precedent) would also protect folks such as those who worked at "Area 51, Nellis AFB" which was declared a state secret and that status was reinforced by Executive order of President Clinton when employees made claims for medical damages they received working there. It was determined that since the place "didn't exist" any such claims were invalid on their face.

Perhaps the solution to this legal conundrum is a secret fund with a secret panel of judges to hear such claims and quietly pay damages or give free access to medical care.

A "special master" can solve a wide range of legal problems.

Thanks.

Rocketman

Here's one from today:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/21/justice/alaska-nugent-bear-hunting/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

A more complete account of the facts:

http://www.bostonherald.com/track/celebrity/view.bg?&articleid=1061126061&format=&page=1&listingType=celeb#articleFull

I think we can agree this prosecution does not comport with the intent of the law and was overcharged, and done so federally. It was also leveraged to get more "concessions" than pretty much any other person might be required to perform. Concessions that clearly fall into the category of the political.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-04-19/vanden-brook-locker-propaganda/54419654/1

I found an old reference to Department of Justice, Internal Affairs.

http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/0508/index.htm

According to the Inspector General Act, the OIG is an independent entity within the DOJ that reports to both the Attorney General and Congress. The OIG’s mission is to investigate allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse in DOJ programs and personnel and to promote economy and efficiency in DOJ operations.

The OIG has jurisdiction to review programs and personnel in all DOJ components, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and other DOJ components.

It appears when it's time to redress your grievances under the terms of the constitution, this is the place to file:

http://www.justice.gov/oig/
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thewitt Avatar
114 months ago

When the government is doing a prosecution for entirely political purposes, the only outlet available is a jury trial.

Completely on point.

Apple is guilty of nothing illegal here, the DOJ know it, and now that Apple has requested a jury trial, they will drop the case.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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