Multi-state agreement reached with Apple on e-book price-fixing damages claims

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Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced a proposed multi-state settlement of claims for monetary relief against Apple Inc. related to its participation in an e-books price-fixing conspiracy.

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 33 states and territories.

Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, the amount of money consumers would receive is contingent upon the resolution of Apple’s appeal of the district court’s July 2013 finding that the company violated antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise prices for e-books between 2010 and 2012.  That appeal is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Consumers nationwide will receive $400 million if the court’s ruling is ultimately affirmed. If the appellate courts do not affirm the court’s ruling, the settlement provides for a smaller recovery or no recovery if Apple is ultimately determined not to have violated the antitrust laws.

The settlement, combined with previous publisher settlements, will provide consumers with more than twice their actual damages, assuming the liability finding is upheld on appeal. Pennsylvania consumers account for approximately 4 percent of e-book purchases in the country.

E-book purchasers nationwide have already received compensation from $166 million in settlement funds paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy – Penguin Group USA Inc. (now part of Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, doing business as Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Shuster Inc.