A judge has ruled on a final settlement for three publishers in the e-book price-fixing case brought by the Department of Justice. Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have agreed to settle in the case.
In the decision, dated Wednesday, Judge Denise Cote considered and dismissed comments submitted by Apple, agent Simon Lipskar and hundreds more. She found that the government provided "a sufficient factual foundation as to the existence of a conspiracy to raise, fix, and stabilize the retail price for newly-released and bestselling trade e-books, to end retail price competition among trade e-books retailers, and to limit retail price competition among the Publisher Defendants."
Public comments had protested that actions taken by the defendants had helped to make the e-book marketplace more, not less, competitive. The three remaining defendants -- Apple, Macmillan and Penguin -- can be expected to make a similar argument when the case goes to court.
The settlement agreement calls for Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster to terminate their agreements with Apple within a week. They must also terminate contracts with any other e-book retailers that set restrictions on e-book pricing.