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Apple and its publishing partners now face class-action lawsuits in Canada over the same e-book price fixing claims that have resulted in government charges in the United States, as reported by the Financial Post. The suits, filed in Montreal, British Columbia, and Ontario, seek damages for any Canadian who purchased an e-book since April 1, 2010.
In similar language to the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit, the Canadian lawsuits claim that Apple, in devising its iBookstore service for the iPad, colluded with book publishers to raise prices on e-books, breaking Amazon’s ability to offer discounted prices at a loss to the company.
“The anti-competitive nature of this conspiracy, and the Publisher Respondents’ motivation to control e-book pricing, is also revealed by the fact that the price of an e-book in many cases now approaches — or even exceeds — the price of the same book in paper even though there are almost no incremental costs to produce each additional e-book unit,” the suit claims.
While class-action suits of this nature can take years, Canadian lawyers behind the suit hope for a quick resolution based on the outcome of the Department of Justice suit south of their border. Three publishers named in the suit, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, have already settled with the Department of Justice and it is hoped that they will also seek settlement in the Canadian litigation.
“This is a North American case,” said Norman Painchaud, the lawyer who filed the suit in Montreal.
However, Apple and the remaining publishers have denied the DOJ’s charges and vow to fight the lawsuit in court, indicating that a resolution is likely still far away for Yanks and Canucks alike.