By Edward Nawotka
Steve Berman, the key attorney in the lawsuit accusing Apple of price fixing e-books, spoke with Publishing Perspectives earlier today. Berman noted that, currently, all evidence supporting their case is “circumstantial.” He reiterated his belief that Apple and several publishers acted in concert to undermine Amazon.com’s leading market position with regards to e-books.”
“Had Macmillan, which initially challenged Amazon’s e-book pricing strategy and said ‘take it or leave it,’ had they acted individually, that would have been perfectly legal,” said Berman. “But the speed at which everyone shifted and abandoned a decade’s-old pricing strategy at the same time indicates that the move was orchestrated. We believe that Apple acted as co-conspirators with the publishers and Steve Jobs knew what was coming down the pipe.”
Berman said that, should the case go to discovery, the firm would seek out trail of evidence, be it via email or other correspondence, that would support collusion.
“Apple’s going to say that the move to the new agency pricing model for e-books among the publishers was completely independent and coincidental,” said Berman.
Still, the case has to be approved by the California justice system before it can go forward, something Berman believes is inevitable. “I wouldn’t have taken this case if I didn’t think I could win it,” he said. “All we have to prove is that was even a possibility that this could happen, that it was an economic viability, for us to get the case going.”
Berman says the firm has yet to receive any reaction from publishers, but that they are “getting a huge positive response from readers.”
Nevertheless, this like all matters legal, will not be tried in the court of public opinion.
To be continued…
(Photo Credit: Hagens Berman)