Apple, Four Publishers Settle EU eBook Price-fixing Lawsuit

By Thursday, December 13, 2012 0 , , , , Permalink 0

The European Commission accepted the commitments made by Cupertino and publishing companies Harper Collins, Hachette Livre, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan that they will ease out the pricing restrictions enforced upon Amazon and other retailers. The fifth publisher, Penguin, which is also named in the lawsuit, hasn’t put forward any commitments and is still under investigation. The Commission however iterated that it was engaged in constructive discussions with the company.

Apple and the publishers went ahead with what is known as agency sales model to set prices of eBooks. The Commission concluded that a violation did take place because of adoption of such a pricing model and instead of imposing fines it went ahead an accepted the commitments from the infringing companies. Under the conditions laid forward, publishing houses and Apple will terminate the current agency agreements it will allow eBook retailers like Amazon to set their own prices.

The Commission said in a statement, “To address these concerns, the companies offered in particular to terminate on-going agency agreements and to exclude certain clauses in their agency agreements during the next five years.”

“The publishers have also offered to give retailers freedom to discount e-books, subject to certain conditions, during a two-year period,” the Commission added.