Utah consumers may get additional compensation in e-book scheme ruling

Published: Friday, July 12 2013 6:08 p.m. MDT

In a Friday, June 7, 2013 file photo, a sign displays the Apple logo outside of the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. A federal judge ruled Wednesday, July 10, 2013 that Apple Inc. broke antitrust laws and conspired with publishers to raise electronic book prices, citing "compelling evidence" from the words of the late Steve Jobs.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah consumers may get more than the nearly $1.5 million they were already awarded for their part in an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and five U.S. publishing houses.

Utah joined with 32 other states and the U.S. Department of Justice in the lawsuit, which alleged that Apple was involved in an e-book price-fixing scheme. Five major publishing houses settled their part of the case before it went to trial, leading to a settlement of $166 million for consumers nationwide.

Apple took the case to trial in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in June. In a ruling handed down Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote found Apple “played a central role in facilitating and executing” the conspiracy to raise e-book prices.

The judge also found that “Apple’s orchestration” of the conspiracy was necessary to its success.

Five publishing houses, including Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; Simon & Schuster Inc.; Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; and Penguin Group (USA) Inc., settled before trial. As a result, customers nationwide should receive $166 million in compensation.

Utah consumers are expected to receive about $1.5 million from the settlement with the book publishers. Possible monetary damages from Apple were not discussed at trial but will be discussed in a future hearing.

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