Tuesday, March 25, 2014

AG Schmidt: Kansas consumers to receive $1.4 million from e-book settlement

TOPEKA, KAN. – Kansas consumers are expected to receive more than $1.4 million from legal settlements with e-book publishers, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

The settlements reached with five of the six largest e-book publishers in 2012 and 2013 – Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. – resolved price fixing claims brought against the companies by Schmidt and the attorneys general of 32 other states.

“A free market requires that prices be fairly set by competition in the marketplace,” Schmidt said. “When competitors collaborate to set the price of a product above the fair market value, consumers lose. Our office will continue to protect consumers from unlawful, anticompetitive business practices.”

Restitution to consumers is being provided in the form of either credit to their e-book accounts or a refund check. Consumers who purchased e-books between April 2010 and May 2012 should watch their email accounts for information on how to receive restitution. More information is available on the Attorney General’s consumer protection website atwww.InYourCornerKansas.org.

A separate case in which Kansas is involved remains pending against Apple, Inc., in federal court in New York. In July 2013, a federal judge found that Apple played a central role in the e-book price fixing conspiracy.

The next phase of that trial, which will determine the amount of damages, is scheduled to begin later this year.