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Apple, Publishers Sued By Feds, Accused Of Conspiracy To Fix e-Book Prices

Publication Date: 
April 11, 2012
San Jose Mercury News
Brandon Bailey

Professor Mark Lemley spoke with the San Jose Mercury News' Brandon Baily on an anti-trust case being brought against Apple and five other book publishers accusing the corporations of artificially raising e-book prices.

Federal and state authorities Wednesday accused Apple (AAPL) and five major book publishers of conspiring to raise prices for e-books, in a case that could produce lower prices in the future while potentially limiting Apple's growing clout in the online media business.

Publishers and their allies defended the pricing policies that prompted a federal antitrust lawsuit, denying collusion but saying they needed to combat the market dominance of another tech titan, the online retailer Amazon. Even so, authorities said three publishers had agreed to a settlement requiring them to reverse those policies.


Stanford law professor Mark Lemley cautioned that the allegations in the e-book case haven't been proved. But he said the suit puts Apple on notice the government is watching its actions closely.

"Being sued by the government for violating the antitrust laws is always going to be a wake-up call," Lemley added.