DOJ defends Apple e-book price fixing injunction, says publishers had it easy

E-book on an iPad

The US Department of Justice isn't buying publishers' arguments that proposed injunctions against Apple for alleged e-book price fixing are excessive and contradictory. DOJ attorney Lawrence Buterman claims in a response letter that the penalties against Apple are necessarily harsher, since it didn't settle the accusations like its reported co-conspirators. The group objection even justifies Apple's punishment, Buterman claims; it suggests that publishers are just waiting until the end of a two-year ban on agency pricing to raise prices once again. The five-year restriction imposed on Apple could keep prices down for longer, the lawyer says.

Apple, meanwhile, isn't done with its objections. In addition to an earlier request for a stay on proceedings pending an appeal, it now contends that the court excluded or ignored testimony while giving Amazon and Google witnesses too much credibility. The company will present more of its opinion at a conference today with both the DOJ and the presiding judge, but we're not expecting a quick resolution -- neither side is budging at this stage.