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31 August 2012 at 11:01 BST

Publishers cough up $69m in e-book price-fixing settlement

Three of the six publishers accused of price-fixing in the US e-book market have agreed a settlement of $69 million -- but the deal will result in only small returns to consumers across America.

E-books: 'victimised consumers'

France's Hachette, along with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster from the US will abandon the ‘agency agreements’ -- which were deemed illegal by the US Department of Justice -- and also pay compensation to each state based on the number of e-books purchased by residents, reports The Register web site.
Meanwhile, California-based technology giant Apple – fresh from its $1 billion patent victory over Korean rival Samsung – along with British publishing duo Penguin and MacMillan, maintain they have done no wrong. Their case is set for trial next year.

States carve up

State attorneys were quick to cut their slice from the pay-out, rapidly determining how much would go to their jurisdictions. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the Sunshine State would received around $4.4m, while reports suggest Hawaii will only pick up around $300,000, which is still more than Minnesota -- the only state not to participate in the suit.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said: ‘We will not tolerate publishers colluding to overcharge consumers millions of dollars for some of the most popular e-books. Today's settlement paves the way for consumers to receive restitution and promotes retail competition in the e-book market. Through our on-going litigation against the remaining defendants, we hope to provide additional restitution to victimised consumers.’


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