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US joins EU in investigating ebook price fixing claims

US joins EU in investigating ebook price fixing claims
Judge ready to throw the ebook

The US has joined Europe in investigating ebook price-fixing claims with a spokesperson for the Department of Justice noting in a statement that it was looking into "anticompetitive practices involving ebook sales".

This follows the EU's announcement earlier in the week that it was looking at five of the biggest publishing companies: Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan, and also Apple.

Illegal agreements

If the US follows the same tack as the EU, then it will be investigating "whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition".

If it is found that the sale of ebooks actually breaches competition rules, then it will mean a massive shake-up in the way ebooks are sold – and it could also mean that we will get a difference in ebook pricing across many online retailers, much like we see with real books at the moment.

Price fixing in the tech world is not unknown. The last major scandal was with television manufacturers back in 2009, when an executive from LG was jailed for his part in a conspiracy to fix the prices of LCD panels in TVs and computers.

Via Engadget and LA Times