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星期二, 6月 21, 2016

MASSACHUSETTS CONSUMERS TO RECEIVE NEARLY $9 MILLION IN REFUNDS FROM E-BOOK PRICE FIXING SETTLEMENTS

MASSACHUSETTS CONSUMERS TO RECEIVE NEARLY $9 MILLION IN REFUNDS FROM E-BOOK PRICE FIXING SETTLEMENTS Consumers Nationwide to Receive $400 Million as a Result of Successful Litigation against Apple, Inc.
BOSTON – Massachusetts residents who purchased electronic books (E-books) will begin to receive additional account credits or checks this week as a result of the successful prosecution of a price-fixing case against Apple, Inc., Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
In total, consumers nationwide will receive more than $400 million after the United States Supreme Court denied Apple’s request to review the decision of a lower court finding Apple had violated antitrust laws. Of that amount, Massachusetts consumers are expected to receive approximately $9 million in restitution.
“Consumers who were forced to pay higher prices as a result of the price-fixing and collusion among these competitors will finally get the relief they are due,” AG Healey said.  “This outcome sends a clear message that these kinds of practices are unfair to consumers and violate our antitrust laws.”
In July 2013, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Apple conspired with five major U.S. Publishers - Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. – to raise the retail prices of E-books, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws.
In June 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed that ruling. And in March 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple’s request to review the Second Circuit’s decision.
The nearly $9 million in restitution is in addition to the approximately $5 million dollars that was paid to Massachusetts consumers starting in March 2014 as a result of previous settlements with Macmillan, Penguin Group (USA) Inc.Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., and Simon & Schuster Inc.
Whether a consumer receives a credit or a check depends upon the retailer from which the relevant e-books were purchased; for some retailers it also depends upon whether a claim was properly filed or whether the consumer specifically requested a check. Eligible consumers are asked to review emails from their e-book retailer, or from the Settlement Administrator, regarding account credits or checks.   
The amounts received by E-book purchasers will be based on the number of E-books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. For each E-book that was a New York Times bestseller, consumers will receive $6.93. For all other E-books, the payment will be $1.57.
For more information on the settlements, please visit www.ebookagsettlements.com.
This case was handled by William Matlack, Chief of Maura Healey’s Antitrust Division and Kyle Barr, Paralegal and Economic Analyst, also in the Antitrust Division.