The Battle Over Ebook Discounting Continues With Apple, S&S Separately Filing Notices of Appeal

The DOJ’s  ebook price-fixing case is entering a new phase as Apple and Simon & Schuster have both filed notices of appeal on Judge Denise Cote’s rulings.

Apple, as expected, filed documents late last week stating that it is appealing the judgment and a court-ordered injunction that puts restrictions on how the tech company operates its ebook store. That includes preventing Apple from entering into contracts with the five largest publishers that limit discounting for two to four years. In other words, no agency pricing.

Separately, S&S filed notice that it intends to appeal the injunction, according to media reports. S&S was one of five publisher defendants in the case, all of which settled with the DOJ before it went to court. The injunction sets a staggered schedule on which Apple may renegotiate its contracts with the five publishers, one every six months after a two-year period.

S&S falls into the middle of the schedule, meaning it won’t be able to renegotiate its contract for three years. Two other publishers will have to wait even longer: Penguin, 42 months; Macmillan four years. So S&S isn’t likely to be the only publisher fighting the injunction.

This summer, the five publisher defendants jointly filed objections to the DOJ’s proposed injunction, claiming it punished them under the guise of putting limits on Apple. Though the measures Cote ultimately handed down were considerably less restrictive, they were still a blow to publishers, which had previously worked out settlement deals that would have allowed them to return sooner to agency pricing.

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