E-book publishers side with Apple, ask DoJ to scrap new price-fixing rules

Apparently Apple isn't the only company thinking the US Department of Justice's recently imposed remedies against it were "draconian." US publishers HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and others have also ganged up on the DOJ with a legal brief opposing the punitive restrictions. In it, they say the watchdog is "attempting to impose a specific business model on the publishing industry," despite assertions it wouldn't play that role. If you'll recall, Apple was recently found guilty of price-fixing following charges filed last year. Now, the Justice Department is trying to force Apple to end its current agreements with the publishers and let rival e-book retailers like Amazon link to their own online stores.

Apple earlier condemned the decision, saying it was "wildly out of proportion to any... wrongdoing or potential harm." The publishers added that it effectively punishes them by prohibiting the so-called agency model, which lets them set their own prices for e-books and other media. A similar affair was settled rather more amicably in Europe, meanwhile, when the same band of publishers agreed to allow other retailers to sell e-books cheaper than Apple does, if they so choose. Evidently, they feel the DOJ overstepped its bounds in the US and seem intent to back Apple to the bitter end.