Pennsylvanians receive checks, credit in ebook settlement
HARRISBURG – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced Pennsylvania consumers will begin receiving account credits or checks as part of a partial settlement of a 2012 ebook price-fixing lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general from 33 states.
The lawsuit was brought against Apple Inc. and five of the six largest e-book publishers in the country, including Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; Simon and Schuster Inc.; Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, doing business as Macmillan; and Penguin Group USA Inc. These ebook publishers settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million. Pennsylvania’s share of the settlement is $6.7 million.
Consumers will receive an account credit or check, which will be based on the number of eligible ebooks purchased during the claims period from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012. Whether a consumer receives an account credit or a check depends on the retailer from which the ebook was purchased. In certain circumstances, it will be based on whether a claim was properly filed or whether a consumer specifically requested a check.
Eligible consumers should review their email for communications from their ebook retailer, or from the settlement administrator regarding account credits or checks. For more information on the settlements, visit www.ebookagsettlements.com.
Apple declined to settle the claims against it, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York conducted a three-week trial in June 2013. Following that trial, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing a conspiracy to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise ebook prices, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws.
A second trial to determine the amount of damages Apple must pay for that violation is scheduled for the summer of 2014. If successful, additional account credits or checks will be distributed to Pennsylvania consumers in the future.