Penguin reaches multi-state agreement over e-book price-fixing

By Bryan Cohen | May 22, 2013

DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced a multi-state agreement Wednesday with book publisher Penguin Group (USA) Inc. to resolve allegations of collusion with other major publishers and Apple Inc. to manipulate e-book prices.

The proposed agreement with Penguin must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. If the agreement is finalized, the agreement will give e-book outlets greater freedom to reduce prices of e-book titles and consumers will receive $75 million in compensation. The consumers compensated would include individuals represented by Suthers' office and individuals represented by private counsel in a related class action.

Colorado previously settled similar litigation with four other publishers, including Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, doing business as Macmillan, Simon & Schuster Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Hachette Book Group Inc. The settlement with Penguin would bring the total restitution available to e-book consumers of the five publishers to $164 million. The parties will provide restitution to consumers after they submit a distribution plan to the court for approval.

A trial for Colorado's antitrust action based on the same allegations against Apple is scheduled in June.

Other states and territories involved in the proposed multi-state settlement include Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, New York, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Louisiana, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, District of Columbia, Delaware, Connecticut, Arkansas, Arizona, Alaska and Alabama.

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