Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Penguin Group settles with the Justice Department while litigation continues against Apple and Macmillan

Another major book publisher has settled with the Department of Justice, this time it is Penguin Group. A proposed settlement has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, if approved would end any litigation concerning Penguin.

The DOJ had previously settled claims with Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc.

"Since the department’s settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, consumers are already paying lower prices for the e-book versions of many of those publishers’ new releases and bestsellers," Jamillia Ferris, Chief of Staff and Counsel at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division said in the department's announcement. "If approved by the court, the proposed settlement with Penguin will be an important step toward undoing the harm caused by the publishers’ anticompetitive conduct and restoring retail price competition so consumers can pay lower prices for Penguin’s e-books."

The settlement requires Penguin to "terminate its agreements with Apple and other e-books retailers and will be prohibited for two years from entering into new agreements that constrain retailers’ ability to offer discounts or other promotions to consumers to encourage the sale of the Penguin’s e-books," the DOJ announcement said.

The actions by the DOJ are widely seen as a big boost to Amazon.com and a defeat of efforts by book publishers to maintain higher prices for eBooks.