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.