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Old 08-08-2013, 04:34 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Publishers object to DOJ proposal; it would punish them rather than Apple

It's not that we're surprised after hearing of the DOJ's proposed order to prevent Apple from entering new e-book distribution contracts for five years, that publishers are anything but unhappy about the plans. In a court filing (provided by Cnet) yesterday afternoon, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck, and Penguin Random House argue that the proposal would effectively eliminate the use of the "agency model" for distributing and selling e-books.

Quote:
[T]he provisions do not impose any limitation on Apple's pricing behavior at all; rather, under the guise of punishing Apple, they effectively punish the settling defendants by prohibiting agreements with Apple using an agency model.
This would, according to the publishers, go directly against what has been agreed on before in separate settlements with the U.S. ahead of the trial.

Quote:
[T]he Proposed Order directly conflicts with the consent decrees that the Settling Defendants negotiated with Plaintiffs and that were entered as Final Judgments by this Court, which specifically provide that "a Settling Defendant may enter into Agency Agreements with E-book Retailers" with certain enumerated limitations. As a result, the relief sought by Plaintiffs effectively modifies the Settling Defendant's existing Final Judgments and unreasonably and unnecessarily restrains the Settling Defendants' independent business decisions beyond the scope and time provided for their respective consent decrees.
On the other hand, while it's true that the proposed order would restrict publishers from entering into agency agreements with Apple, it would not prevent them from entering into agreements with any other party, as agreed on in the previous settlements.

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Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 08-08-2013 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:52 AM   #2
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Too bad for the publishers, but this is Apple's punishment.

They can make a deal with Amazon
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:03 AM   #3
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I don't feel a thing for any publisher complicit in the whole affair. perhaps they were overeager to settle hoping to skate away. Plus didn't Jobs poo-poo books anyway?

So other than the deal w/Apple pushing up prices up at the north end of I5 I doubt sales from iTunes store will really be "lost". It's really just the hard fact publishers can't leverage higher margin deals using Apple as a "threat". They just have to be creative or sell out Apple??

Still always interesting to see "wheels within wheels".
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #4
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I hope that the judge gives this the consideration it deserves and changes the DoJ recommendation of 5 years to 20 years.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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I thought the lack of competition inherent in the agency contract was key to the guilty finding. I didn't realize agency agreements were okay except in current form, which includes a MFN provision.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
I hope that the judge gives this the consideration it deserves and changes the DoJ recommendation of 5 years to 20 years.
I think it should be for a "brief period," the same length as the "brief period" the publishers are allowed to hold copyrights in the US.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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I think it should be for a "brief period," the same length as the "brief period" the publishers are allowed to hold copyrights in the US.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:04 PM   #8
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I think it should be for a "brief period," the same length as the "brief period" the publishers are allowed to hold copyrights in the US.
LOVE that suggestion!
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:04 PM   #9
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I thought the publishers were (indicted/un-indicted) co-conspirators.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Too bad for the publishers, but this is Apple's punishment.

They can make a deal with Amazon
I'm glad the judge found a way to shaft them despite making a plea bargain. I'm getting really tired of cases getting settled out of court. Too many innocent people get forced into guilty pleas, and the guilty don't get meaningfully punished.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:58 PM   #11
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I thought the lack of competition inherent in the agency contract was key to the guilty finding. I didn't realize agency agreements were okay except in current form, which includes a MFN provision.
Actually there is absolutely nothing illegal about agency agreements or MFN agreements. They have been used for years. It would only be illegal if the publishers agreed among themselves to set a price, something that was never alleged or proven in the trial.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:08 PM   #12
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I'm glad the judge found a way to shaft them despite making a plea bargain. I'm getting really tired of cases getting settled out of court. Too many innocent people get forced into guilty pleas, and the guilty don't get meaningfully punished.
You guys do realize that the people who really get the shaft is the ebook consumer. The proposal basically allows the government to regulate the online media industry. If it goes through, we will see a lot less innovation and choice in these areas.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:37 PM   #13
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Too bad for the publishers, but this is Apple's punishment.
Only in the unlikely event the judge gives the prosecution everything it wants.

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Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
I hope that the judge gives this the consideration it deserves and changes the DoJ recommendation of 5 years to 20 years.
If you don't like the publishers, then read the kinds of books which don't require heavy editing and advance-funded research. There are loads of such books available from the indie community. However, I don't see a benefit in unnecessarily damaging the business model of large publishers.

Every medium to large publisher book is available from public libraries, at least on interlibrary loans. What's most important to me isn't whether I can afford to have my own personal copy, but whether the books being published are as good as possible.

Right now, I am reading a book published by the Rutgers University Press and sold, in Kindle edition, for $35.40:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cure-Child...dhood+miracles

If that far-higher-than-big-publisher price is what's going to help Rutgers University Press produce more books of quality, that's fine with me. Or you can find this title, lightly used, via bookfinder.com, for $4.81. Or you can get it, in return for paying taxes, at a public library.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:17 PM   #14
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"If you don't like the publishers, then read the kinds of books which don't require heavy editing and advance-funded research. There are loads of such books available from the indie community. However, I don't see a benefit in unnecessarily damaging the business model of large publishers."


I don't see the point of your rant. Nothing in the settlement says the publisher can't set whatever price they need for each book they sell to booksellers in order to make a profit on that book. That scarcely does damage to their business, after all they've been selling hardbacks that way for decades. They simply, after they get their money, no longer have any say in what price the bookseller turns around and sells that book for. But what do they care, they already have all the money they wanted for that book. If it's not enough then they should raise the price they charge the bookstore for that book. Nothing prevents them from setting a high wholesale price. I happen to really approve of retail competion.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
Only in the unlikely event the judge gives the prosecution everything it wants.



If you don't like the publishers, then read the kinds of books which don't require heavy editing and advance-funded research. There are loads of such books available from the indie community. However, I don't see a benefit in unnecessarily damaging the business model of large publishers.

Every medium to large publisher book is available from public libraries, at least on interlibrary loans. What's most important to me isn't whether I can afford to have my own personal copy, but whether the books being published are as good as possible.

Right now, I am reading a book published by the Rutgers University Press and sold, in Kindle edition, for $35.40:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cure-Child...dhood+miracles

If that far-higher-than-big-publisher price is what's going to help Rutgers University Press produce more books of quality, that's fine with me. Or you can find this title, lightly used, via bookfinder.com, for $4.81. Or you can get it, in return for paying taxes, at a public library.
I read a lot of research heavy non-fiction and I know such books must cost more. And such books never were 9.99 at Amazon, but always more expensive.

Now as for bestsellers, the publishers get more money using the wholesale model. They allow discounting of hard covers and paperbacks (why didn't they try the agency model for those?), so why should ebooks be excluded from healthy competition among retailers. Sorry, we are not buying that "Amazon is destroying the market" mantra because they have a few loss leaders at 9.99.
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