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Apple blasts DoJ's proposed settlement terms as 'draconian'

updated 04:14 pm EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

Claims terms would 'establish a vague new compliance regime'

Apple has lashed out at the Department of Justice's proposed terms for settling the case the latter brought over e-book price fixing. In court documents, Apple calls the terms a "draconian and punitive intrusion" into its business, with penalties "wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."

The DoJ's proposal would "establish a vague new compliance regime -- applicable only to Apple -- with intrusive oversight lasting for ten years, going far beyond the legal issues in this case, injuring competition and consumers, and violating basic principles of fairness and due process," Apple's lawyers claim. "The resulting cost of this relief -- not only in dollars but also lost opportunities for American businesses and consumers -- would be vast."

Under the DoJ's suggested terms, Apple would be forced to allow apps to link to other e-book stores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The company appears to be most concerned, however, over possible stipulations for its contract negotiations, since Apple would not only have to cancel existing contracts with the five book publishers implicated in the price fixing, but skip signing new ones for another five years, while also avoiding agreements with providers of music, movies, and TV shows "that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple's competitor retailers may sell that content."

Apple is still pursuing an appeal of the court ruling that backed the DoJ's charges. In today's filing, however, the company says that a "narrower and more modest injunction" that's "carefully tailored" to the ruling should be proposed.

By Electronista Staff


  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Messing with a non-monopolist's business model - when the subject of that business model was never part of any violation - is inappropriate for DOJ because the the DOJ punishment itself would be anti-competitive.

    I agree the penalty should be "narrowly tailored." A fat fine sounds appropriate and is not anti-competitive.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I would bet serious money that if Apple appealed this to any judge who had NOT already pronounced judgement ahead of the case actually starting, they'd get a nearly-complete reversal. Apple is absolutely right to refuse this ridiculous and yes, draconian settlement and take their chances with another trial. I have honestly no idea what the DOJ is thinking on this one.

  1. Hillbilly Geek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-22-06

    You are speaking of the Department of Justice: Eric Holder, et al. "Laws? We don't need no steenkin' laws!"

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-01-08


    The DOJ is not thinking .... it's been paid by Amazon to take up this case ... and as you can see, not only the verdict, but even the punishment is favorable to Amazon.

    Most people quickly forget the influence of lobbying and buying politicians ... it's very cheap and easy. Done in daylight.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 07-16-04

    DOJ, I have ZERO interest in buying an Amazon device. I will never buy one.

    If I cannot get my content through my preferred channel which is iTunes then I will pirate it.

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-27-00

    I bet Apple didn't see this coming from their 'friends' in the federal government...

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