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Posted December 19, 2012 by Nightstand Novels in Latest News

Penguin Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged E-book Price-Fixing

penguinPenguin Group has reached a proposed settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the price fixing lawsuit filed in April 2012.

The Antitrust lawsuit accused Apple and five book publishers of conspiring to artificially hike prices. Macmillan (as Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC) and Apple are the only two remaining parties who have not settled with the DOJ.

As with the settlement to which the other settling publishers agreed, Penguin has agreed to terminate its existing contracts with Apple and not enter into new agreements for two years that would prevent retailers from offering discounted Penguin e-books, the Justice Department said.

The proposed settlement agreement also will impose a strong antitrust compliance program on Penguin, which will include a requirement that it provide advance notification to the department of any e-book ventures it plans to undertake jointly with other publishers and that it regularly report to the department on any communications it has with other publishers.  Also for five years, Penguin will be forbidden from agreeing to any kind of most favored nation (MFN) agreement that could undermine the effectiveness of the settlement.”

The publisher issued a statement today confirming the agreement but maintained its innocence in the case:

 Penguin confirms that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to settle claims relating to the Penguin booksestablishment of agency pricing agreements in 2010. Penguin has always maintained, and continues to maintain, that it has done nothing wrong and has no case to answer. Penguin continues to believe that the agency pricing model has encouraged competition among distributors of both e-books and e-book readers and, in the company’s view, continues to operate in the interest of consumers and authors. But it is also in everyone’s interests that the proposed Penguin Random House company should begin life with a clean sheet of paper.

Penguin’s agreement still requires court approval, but the Justice Department said consumers are already benefiting from the previous settlements.

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