Apple filed a strongly worded legal memo on Wednesday, opposing the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement proposal that would have the company terminate its current e-book business contracts with three major publishing houses.
Apple’s filing, first reported by paidContent is in response to a recent DoJ memorandum in support of a proposed settlement, which asked the New York district court handling the case to hand down a decision without any further hearings. The government argues that a quick final judgment would be in the best interest of consumers as well as the settling parties, which would no longer have to pay fees for ongoing litigation.
Apple’s lawyers disagreed, writing that the judgement would “terminate and rewrite Apple’s bargained-for contracts” before evidence could be presented, testimony had been heard, or disputed facts be resolved at a trial. The decision of the court would be final and irreversible, says Apple, saying the company couldn’t simply reinstate terminated contracts if it were to win a court trial in the future.
The issue at hand is Apple’s “agency model”, in which a publisher sets book pricing in a “most favored nations” agreement, that says they will not offer the same content to another reseller at a lower price. The DOJ says the model was used by Apple and its publishing partners to inflate the price of e-books, hurting consumers in the process.
Apple says the heart of the matter is the alleged conspiracy to force Amazon to adopt the agency model, saying: “”a settlement enjoining collusion or precluding publishers from forcing agency on Amazon would be appropriate.” Apple says the government is seeking a favorable judgement without a fair trial, “justifies the termination of Apple’s contracts before trial on the grounds that they are causing ongoing harm.”
The full text of Apple’s legal memo is below.