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Local AG’s office recipient in E-book anti-trust lawsuit

reporters@samoanews.com

The local Attorney General’s office is one of the recipients in the $69 Million Attorneys General Settlement which provides money back for certain E-book purchases. This was following a lawsuit by the State Attorney General filed in New York, claiming that there was a conspiracy involving three of the nation’s top publishers and others to fix and raise retail prices of E-books.

These publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster – have agreed to settle the lawsuit (“Settling Publishers”) but deny they did anything wrong.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Iosua noted this information was relayed to their office by Kinsella Media. Iosua told Samoa News in an email, that American Samoa is one of the recipients of this settlement.

According to a news release, the process of notifying consumers about Settlements reached with certain publishers in an antitrust lawsuit filed by State Attorneys General about the price of electronic books (“E-books”) is underway. A separate lawsuit with similar claims continues against two other publishers and Apple Inc.

Millions of consumers have begun receiving emails or postcards with information about their legal rights and options. Several E-book retailers have participated in the notification process as a courtesy to their customers.  

According to the release, if the Court approves the Settlements, the Settling Publishers will contribute $69.04 million into a Settlement Fund that will be distributed to eligible consumers of which American Samoa’s Attorney General’s office is one. The Settlements also include agreements by the Settling Publishers to comply with antitrust laws, and certain orders of the Court and the U.S. Department of Justice.

People who bought E-books are included in the Settlements if: (1) they purchased an E-book that was published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, or Macmillan (as well as certain other names – “imprints” – under which these publishers also publish E-books); (2) the purchase was made from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012; and (3) they were a resident of a) a state other than Minnesota, b) the District of Columbia, or c) one of five U.S. Territories and Commonwealths (Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa) at the time of purchase.

If the Court approves the Settlements and the Attorneys General’s distribution plan, people who bought one or more qualifying E-books and who follow the instructions in their notices will receive a credit into their E-book retailer account or a check. Distribution of checks and/or credits varies among E-book retailers.There will be two levels of payments, based on categories of books.  The exact amount to be paid per E-book in both categories is not yet finalized.

The email and postcard notices currently being distributed contain instructions about whether consumers need to do anything to activate their credit or file a Claim Form to receive a check.  Anyone who thinks they may be included but has not received notice should visit www.EBookAGSettlements.com or call 1-866-621-4153 to learn more about the Settlements and decide whether to file a Claim Form. Claim Forms must be filed online or postmarked by December 12, 2012.

Those included in the Settlements have a number of legal rights and options. They should visit www.EBookAGSettlements.com or call 1-866-621-4153 to get a Detailed Notice and learn more.



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