DENVER—Colorado consumers will start receiving approximately $3.7 million in account credits or checks this week to settle an e-book antitrust lawsuit brought by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and attorneys general of 32 other states. The lawsuit was filed against Apple, Inc., and five of the country’s six largest publishing companies: Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York approved the multistate $166 million settlement.
"We're pleased that we can begin returning money to Colorado consumers this week," said Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection, Jan Zavislan. "This settlement resolves our lawsuit against the five publishers for colluding to overcharge consumers millions of dollars for some of the most popular e-books.”
Apple did not enter into a settlement with the states, and the case went to trial last summer. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a permanent injunction addressing Apple Inc.’s illegal activities regarding e-book price fixing. Apple was required to modify its agreements with the five publishers; provide for a court-appointed external monitor, and was barred from future anticompetitive behavior. Colorado was one of the original states to pursue antitrust allegations against Apple and the publishers.
Later this year, the amount of damages Apple must pay will be determined. The Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s office will seek additional reimbursement and civil penalties from Apple in the second phase of that trial.
Consumers should check their email for communications from their e-book retailer, or from the settlement administrator, regarding account credits or checks. More information is available at www.ebookagsettlements.com.