Book 'em Danno: Court upholds Apple's $450M fine in e-book pricing case

By a vote of 2 to 1, a U.S. Appeals court decided that a prior judge was correct to penalize Apple and five publishers for their parts to fix e-book pricing.

While Apple may be celebrating its Apple Music and Beats 1 radio launch today, it lost an appeal in the 2013 ruling that will cost it $450 million.

On Tuesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2 to 1 in upholding a lower court ruling that found Apple guilty of conspiring to inflate e-book prices.

Re/code, which first reported the court's decision, notes that the finding also maintains an injunction to stop Apple's practice that raised e-book prices from $9.99 (though Amazon) to between $12.99 and $14.99 through five publishers: Macmillan, Penguin, Lagardere's Hachette Livre, News Corp.-owned HarperCollins, and CBS-owned Simon & Schuster (Discolsure: ZDNet is also owned by CBS).

Apple and the participating publishers actually began paying refunds to customers last year as a result of the case but had hoped to avoid some of the penalties, which at one point reached $840 million in possible damages.

In 2012, the EU launched a probe into the same e-book pricing approaches. Apple and the publishers there agreed to end the then-current agency agreements and exclude particular terms in new agency agreements for five years.


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