AG reaches agreement with Apple on e-book price fixing damages

mark herringVirginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that Virginia consumers could be eligible for up to $10.5 million in compensation as part of a proposed settlement with Apple, Inc. for participating in a price-fixing conspiracy in the market for e-books. The settlement agreement, which remains subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, would resolve claims for consumer damages brought by Virginia and 32 other states and territories, as well as Virginia’s civil penalty claims.

“This is good news for the consumers who were harmed by this price-fixing conspiracy and it sends an important message that Virginia will not tolerate illegal, anti-competitive business practices that drive up prices for consumers,” said Attorney General Herring. “I appreciate the work my Consumer Protection Section has done on this case and the great work they do every day to protect Virginia consumers.”

According to the terms of the settlement, consumers nationwide will receive approximately $400 million if the July 2013 finding of a federal district court that Apple and five major publishers conspired to raise the prices of e-books from 2010-2012 is affirmed on appeal. If the appellate courts do not affirm the district court’s ruling, the settlement provides for a smaller recovery if the case is sent back to the district court, or no recovery if Apple is ultimately determined not to have violated the antitrust laws. Eligible consumers will be notified once the settlement is finalized.

Attorney General Herring previously announced that Virginia consumers would receive approximately $4.3 million in compensation from the other five e-book publishers who participated in the conspiracy- Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now part of Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc.

Consumers who were eligible for that settlement should have already been contacted by the publishers and more information is available at at www.ebookagsettlements.com.

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