Idaho residents poised to receive refunds from E-book lawsuit

E-book buyers in Idaho could begin receiving account credits or checks this week as part of a settlement reached in a price-fixing lawsuit with publishers, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says.

The antitrust case was filed against Apple, Inc., along with – Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers, LLC, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. The settlement was for nationwide payment of $166 million. Wasden says Idahoans will be credited about $800,000.

“These settlements have a dual effect of bringing restitution for Idaho consumers and readers who were forced to pay higher prices for E-books and restoring competition in the marketplace,” Wasden says.

For consumers, getting an account credit or check will be based on the number of eligible E-books purchased during a specific claims period – April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012. Eligible consumers should review their email for communications from their E-book retailer, or from the Settlement Administrator, about account credits or checks. For more settlement information, consumers should visit: http://www.ebookagsettlements.com.

Apple declined to join the settlement involving the publishers and was convicted in a three-week trial in June 2013. In her decision, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, of the Southern District of New York, concluded that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing a conspiracy to drop retail price competition in hopes of raising E-book prices,violate state and federal antitrust laws.

A second trial to decide the amount of damages Apple should pay is scheduled for later this year.

“Consumers are entitled to a fair, open and competitive marketplace,” Wasden said. “When a company is found to have violated the antitrust laws, as Apple did here, consumers who have suffered as a consequence are entitled to compensation.”

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Idaho residents poised to receive refunds from E-book lawsuit

  1. Mark Burrows

    It isn’t just apple, it’s everybody. It is a simple capitalistic cash grab for a lot of sticky fingers. We are striving to move forward into areas where we are being more environmentally sound and ebooks is one of the best movements towards a paperless world.
    By all means, the author should be paid, but they are not about to squawk about smaller royalties if they go out in larger numbers. Look, most ebooks are generally no more than 500KB and that would represent a pretty thick book. Sure publishers might say they the printing companies are using recycled material these days, but it is still a matter of books taking up precious space. For the masses, space is needed for more practical things. When we all become wealthy and live in mansions, then we can appreciate having these precious volumes adorning our personal libraries.
    My point is, ebooks are small files, once created, they can be protected by DRM, which I have not yet seen and wonder why it is not done, so the rights are established by the distributor with permission from the publisher.
    There is no reason in the world that we, as conscious consumers should be punished with the cost of ebooks just being shy of going out and purchasing the paperback.
    Have we not already spent enough by purchasing the computers, the eReaders, and the Tablets, plus paying for some of the software and apps to read the ebpubs, not to mention some of these sites that offer the books require a paid membership.
    As I said, it is all a huge money grab that not only does not follow forward thinking logic for a better economical future, it only proves that the greed of everyone wanting a piece and a big piece at that from something that cost next to nothing to create and put into production is a clear case of immoral profiteering engineered by capitalistic business dominions that have sway over government policy and equally have the ability to manipulate the same government policies to suit their needs.
    If you ask me, making profits far beyond the cost of creation and production for the purpose of profiteering is the greatest scam of all. One that we have absolutely no power over. You have to look no further than the pharmaceutical industry with their 3000% plus profits on over 90% of the medications they manufacture.
    Then when they catch a handful of people pirating downloads off the internet, we look at them as such horrid criminals that should be locked up and the key thrown away. Well yes, they are breaking the law by not paying for a copyrighted movie, piece of software, or record album, but on the other hand, the copy they do get, is usually of low quality or riddled with viruses and other malicious things. So, there really is not much gain there and most people who value quality, warranty, and technical support will purchase products even after they have pirated them because well, crap is crap and no one will help you out if you have crappy non original software, music, or movies. Same goes for ebooks, the pirated ones are generally not scanned, but are rewritten, and are full of typing, grammatical, punctuation and other annoying errors that make them unpleasant to read.
    Yet, I can feel for some of these people simply because they can pick up second hand computers and devices cheap, but they can not maintain spending money on purchasing luxuries. So, they pirate. I do not condone it, but I understand it from a psychological point of view.

    Mark Burrows

  2. If you’ve bought a bestseller in the form of an ebook from a major publisher between April 2010 and May 2012, you may have gotten a little bonus in your Amazon or Barnes & Noble account today.

    I think the key here would be to make the distinction to consumers that a legitimate notice will not have a call to action to click on a link, call a number or open an attachment.

    The problem with that kind of warning is that there are links in the emails, though they do not require the recipient to click on them. Both notices say the credit will appear in their accounts automatically, so my assumption is that they don’t have to click on anything, and may simply log in to see the credit.

    Here’s an explanation from Time Magazine’s blog:

    “The money is the result of an Apple eBooks anti-trust settlement between various publishers and the Department of Justice. Publishers and Apple were accused of conspiring to fix select ebook prices when the iBookstore launched. Apple is still fighting the suit but publishers decided to settle.

    “Thus, anyone who bought an ebook from HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, or Macmillan between April 2010 and May 2012 that made it onto the New York Times bestsellers list got a $3.17 refund. Non-bestsellers got 73 cents. (Minnesotans received $3.93 and 94 cents.) The refund has already been automatically added to customers’ Amazon accounts.”

    The settlement shows up as a credit to your Amazon account, and you can use it to purchase any books (traditional and digital), but not other purchases. Have questions?

    Amazon and Barnes & Noble both have posted FAQ on this agreement (www.amazon.com/ebooksettlements or BN.com) that explains a lot more detail. They point out they are not a party to the Justice Department’s case, just a channel for distributing the settlement money.

  3. Mark Burrows

    That’s great news and fair judgement, in part, because it is only partial. What about consumers such as myself who use Kobo products? Don’t worry, I am already on their backs about it.
    Still, I have to wonder at the Apple headquarters on their decision to still fight the suit of price fixing. How do you defend from the obvious?
    Have they not learned anything? They were sued relentlessly several times by Apple Corps. aka The Beatles and lost, and when they finally one one case, they still lost because Apple Corps wrangled its way into iTunes suite for an undisclosed sum of money. You can rest assure that it was a hefty sum. We also know the business savvy of a certain Paul McCartney who would not allow such a merger to exist with out getting an ongoing piece of the pie. He may be a sap when it comes to falling in love fast and furious, but do not think his wealth comes just from singing silly little love songs. He is a top entrepreneur, and even better at disguising his true net worth.
    Still Apple Inc, the computer guys, are always getting themselves into deep doo-doo by infringing on someones toes for the sake of the almighty dollar. They just have lousy spin doctors that can’t bury the agenda deep enough. The publishers know enough that they must protect the product, so they are the ones making the sacrifice, so their efforts to lighten the wallet of Apple Inc. in this legal battle will be tenfold.
    Apple Inc. does not have to sense to cut a deal and walk away. They are certain that they can always fall back on the high sales of their own product of computers and phones to stay above water. Yet staying above water is not the goal, gouging the masses of their hard earned small incomes is the goal. There are not many good guys left in the business world. Microsoft is not one, Apple Inc is not one. Don’t get me wrong, both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were great men who had great ideals, but retirement took one, and death took the other. Yet even in their prime, they were loosing out to evil ambitious underlings clamoring to take control.

    Mark Burrows

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