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Frequently Asked Questions


BASIC INFORMATION

1. What were these lawsuits about?

Answer:

Antitrust lawsuits were filed by Class Plaintiffs and 33 Attorneys General (“Plaintiffs”). These lawsuits claimed there was a conspiracy involving Apple and five top U.S. publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, (“Settling Publishers") to fix and raise retail prices of E-books. The cases are known as In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-02293 and The State of Texas, et al., v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., et al., No. 12-Civ-03394. These lawsuits were brought on behalf of consumers who purchased one or more qualifying E-books published by the Settling Publishers from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 (“Eligible Consumers”). Apple denies that it did anything wrong.

The five Settling Publishers settled these claims before trial, resulting in $166 million in payments being made available to consumers (See Question 4).

A trial in the Attorney General lawsuit against Apple was held in June 2013.  The District Court found Apple liable for violating antitrust laws, and set a date for a second trial to determine the amount of damages, if any, Apple should pay (the “damages trial”). Apple denies that it did anything wrong and appealed the Court’s finding of liability.

Apple, the Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs agreed to settle these lawsuits subject to the final outcome of Apple’s appeal.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s ruling and the Supreme Court has refused to hear Apple’s appeal. Accordingly, the Apple settlement has gone into effect.

2. Who brought these lawsuits?

Answer:

One lawsuit was brought by the Attorneys General of 33 jurisdictions listed below (See Question 9) against Apple and the Settling Publishers on behalf of the Eligible Consumers who lived in their jurisdictions at the time of their E-book purchases from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 (“AG Lawsuit”).  The Attorneys General brought the lawsuit based on their authority to bring lawsuits on behalf of their citizens.

The other lawsuit was a consolidated class action against Apple and the Settling Publishers on behalf of Eligible Consumers who lived in 19 other states and four other U.S. territories (See Question 10) at the time of their E-book purchases from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 (“Private Lawsuit”).  In a class action, one or more people called class representatives sue on behalf of people who have similar claims.  The Class Representatives were Anthony Petru, Thomas Friedman, and Shane S. Davis.

3. Who are the Settling Publishers?

Answer:

The Settling Publishers include the following companies:

a) Hachette Book Group, Inc.,

b) HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C.,

c) Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC known as Macmillan,

d) Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and

e) Simon & Schuster, Inc. & Simon & Schuster Digital Sales, Inc.

WHO IS INCLUDED IN THE APPLE SETTLEMENT?          

4. How do I know if I was included in the Apple Settlement?

Answer:

You were included in the Apple Settlement if:

  1.    You purchased a qualifying E-book that was published by one of the five Publishers (all of the Publishers publish books under many different names, called imprints, (See Question 9), and
  2.    Your purchase was made from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012, and
  3.    You were a resident of a) a U.S. state or commonwealth, b) the District of Columbia, or c) one of the five U.S. Territories at the time of purchase. The billing address of the credit card you used to buy the included E-book(s) will be used to determine your residency.

The following people or entities were not included in the Apple Settlement:

  1.    Residents of countries other than the United States and its territories and commonwealths are not included in the Apple Settlement.
  2.    Only individuals are included. Business, governments, libraries, non-profits, and other entities are not  included.
  3.    People who obtained rental E-books, free E-books, and E-books received as gifts are not included. (Only purchasers are included in the Apple Settlement.  If you received an E-book as a gift, you are not included.  The person who purchased it for you may be included.)

5. How can I tell if my E-book purchases were included in the Apple Settlement?

Answer:

If you received a notice by email or postcard, you purchased at least one qualifying E-book and were included in the Apple Settlement. Your qualifying E-book purchases were determined based on the records of the retailer(s) through which you bought your E-book(s).  (See Question 13 for how to get a payment.)

 

6. What if I'm still not sure the Apple Settlement included my E-book purchase(s)?

Answer:

If you have reviewed the information available on this site and are still unsure if the Apple Settlement included your E-book  purchase(s), please email info@EbookLawsuits.com.

7. What was a qualifying E-book?

Answer:

In the Apple Settlement, a qualifying E-book was an electronically formatted book designed to be read on a computer, a handheld device (including an e-reader or tablet), or other electronic device capable of visually displaying books.  In the Settlement, audio books, “apps” sold through the app store, and textbooks are not considered to be E-books and did not qualify for a distribution.  Qualifying E-books included all E-books sold under agency contracts by any of the Settling Publishers during the period from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012.

8. What is an imprint?

Answer:

Many of the Settling Publishers have imprints or divisions within their companies that publish E-books that were included in the Apple Settlement. For example, Simon& Schuster has the imprint Wall Street Journal Books.  So if you purchased one or more E-books from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 that were published by any of the Publishers (including their divisions), you may have been eligible for a payment or account credit. For a full list of all Publishers and their imprints, please review the information available by clicking HERE.

9. Who is an Eligible Consumer in the AG Lawsuit?

Answer:

You were included in the AG Lawsuit if, at the time of your qualifying E-book purchases, you lived in any of the following jurisdictions:

 

• District of Columbia

• Indiana

• North Dakota

• Puerto Rico

• Iowa

• Ohio

• Alabama

• Kansas

• Pennsylvania

• Alaska

• Louisiana

• South Dakota

• Arizona

• Maryland

• Tennessee

• Arkansas

• Massachusetts

• Texas

• Colorado

• Michigan

• Utah

• Connecticut

• Missouri

• Vermont

• Delaware

• Nebraska

• Virginia

• Idaho

• New Mexico

• West Virginia

• Illinois

• New York

• Wisconsin

It is possible to be an Eligible Consumer in both the AG Lawsuit and the Private Lawsuit if you moved residences.

10. Who is an Eligible Consumer in the Private Lawsuit?

Answer:

You were included in the Private Lawsuit if, at the time of your qualifying E-book purchases, you lived in the following jurisdictions:

 

•     American Samoa

•     Minnesota

•     Oklahoma

•     California

•     Mississippi

•     Oregon

•     Florida

•     Montana

•     Rhode Island

•      Georgia

•     Nevada

•     South Carolina

•     Guam

•     New Hampshire

•     U.S. Virgin Islands

•      Hawaii

•     New Jersey

•     Washington

•      Kentucky

•     North Carolina

•     Wyoming

•      Maine

•     Northern Mariana Islands

 

It is possible to be an Eligible Consumer in both the AG Lawsuit and the Private Lawsuit if you moved residences.

 

THE SETTLEMENT'S BENEFITS

11. What did the Apple Settlement provide?

Answer:

The Apple Settlement provided $400 Million in consumer recovery. Approximately 80%  of that money was distributed to consumers between June 21, 2016 and June 23, 2017.  The court has approved another round of distribution to dispose of the remainder.

12. How much will my payment be?

Answer:

The amount of your credit or check was based on the number of qualifying E-books you purchased. Eligible Consumers received two levels of payments, based on categories of E-books:

 

First Distribution:

  •  New York Times bestsellers: $6.93 per E-book. These E-books include Adult Fiction, Non- Fiction and Advice titles, the hardcover versions of which were New York Times bestsellers at any time during the period from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012.
  •  Non-bestsellers: $1.57 per E-book.  These E-books include any titles that were not New York Times bestsellers.

Second Distribution:

If you used the credit you received from the first distribution, or cashed your check from the first distribution, you are eligible to receive a credit or check from the second distribution. However, please note that per the court approved order, checks for an amount less than or equal to $3.00 have not been and will not be issued.

  •  New York Times bestsellers: $1.72 per E-book. These E-books include Adult Fiction, Non- Fiction and Advice titles, the hardcover versions of which were New York Times bestsellers at any time during the period from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012.
  •  Non-bestsellers: $0.38 per E-book.  These E-books include any titles that were not New York Times bestsellers.

13. What do I have to do to get my payment?

Answer:

If you received an email notice from a retailer or the Settlement Claims Administrator:

  •  E-book purchases through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble or Kobo: You received a credit in your account automatically. If you did not want to receive an automatic credit in your account you had the option to file a check request by October 31, 2014.  The deadline to file a check request has passed.  Customers who submitted a check request in the Prior Settlements did not have to submit another check request in the Apple Settlement. Customers who were issued a check in the Prior Settlements automatically received a check in the Apple Settlement.
  •  E-book purchases through Sony: You received a check automatically.
  •  E-book purchases through Google:

~ If you filed a valid Claim Form and received a check in the Prior Settlements, you did not need to file a Claim Form in the Apple Settlement.  Your previously filed Claim Form was included in the Apple Settlement and you received a check automatically.
~ You were required to file a Claim Form by October 31, 2014.

If you bought E-books through any other retailer not listed above:

  •  If you filed a valid Claim Form in the Prior Settlements and received a check, you did not need to file a Claim Form for the Apple Settlement. Your previously filed Claim Form was included in the Apple Settlement and you received a check automatically.
  •  If you did not file a Claim Form, you must have filed one detailing your purchases in order to receive a check.  The deadline to file an online claim form was October 31, 2014

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and Google provided notice and account credits voluntarily for your convenience. None of these retailers have been sued in this case.

 

14. Did I have to file a Claim Form or Check Request if I submitted one as part of the Prior Settlements?

Answer:

No, you did not have to file a new Claim Form or Check Request for the Apple Settlement if you already submitted one and received a check or account credit in the Prior Settlements. Your Claim Form or Check Request applied to all Settlements.

15. When will I get a payment?

Answer:

Credits from the first Apple distribution were emailed to eligible customers starting on June 21st, 2016 and concluded on June 23rd, 2016. Postcard checks from the first distribution were mailed on June 23rd, 2016. Please note that the deadline to use your credit or cash your check from the first distribution has passed.

 

The court approved a re-distribution of remaining funds from the Apple Settlement on September 7, 2017 to customers that used their credit or cashed their check from the first Apple distribution that concluded in June of 2017. Credits to customers that were eligible for a re-distribution were emailed on October 18, 2017. Postcard checks were mailed to eligible customers on October 18, 2017. Per the court approved order, checks for an amount less than or equal to $3.00 have not been and will not be issued. If you did not use your credit or cash your check from the first distribution that concluded in June 2017, you were not eligible to receive a credit or check from the most recent re-distribution.

 

** Please note that if you were eligible to receive a credit or check from the court approved re-distribution, you must use your credit or cash your check on or before April 20, 2018. 

 

If you received a check from the re-distribution, and need it reissued due to a name change, or have any other check specific questions, please email the Settlement Administrator at info@ebooklawsuits.com. Please note that any check reissue requests must be submitted to the Settlement Administrator by March 1, 2018 in order to be reissued. Any reissue request submitted after March 1, 2018 will not be honored.

16. What should I do if my contact information changes?

Answer:

If your home or email address changes before you receive your payment, you should make sure that you update your contact information with your E-book retailers. For details on how to update your contact information, please review the information HERE.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

17. How do I get more information?

Answer:

This website summarizes the Apple Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get copies of the Apple Settlement Agreement HERE or you may write with questions to Apple E-Books Antitrust Litigation Administrator, P.O. Box 1851, Faribault, MN 55021-1899 or email the settlement administrator at info@ebooklawsuits.com.

18. What happens to any funds remaining after the distribution to Eligible Consumers?

Answer:

Credits from the first Apple distribution were emailed to eligible customers starting on June 21st, 2016 and concluded on June 23rd, 2016. Postcard checks from the first distribution were mailed on June 23rd, 2016. Please note that the deadline to use your credit or cash your check from the first distribution has passed.

The court approved a re-distribution of remaining funds from the Apple Settlement on September 7, 2017 to customers that used their credit or cashed their check from the first Apple distribution that concluded in June of 2017. Credits to customers that were eligible for a re-distribution were emailed on October 18, 2017. Postcard checks were mailed to eligible customers on October 18, 2017. Per the court order, checks for an amount less than or equal to $3.00 have not been and will not be issued. If you did not use your credit or cash your check from the first distribution that concluded in June 2017, you were not eligible to receive a credit or check from the most recent re-distribution.

 
Please note that if you were eligible to receive a credit or check from the court approved re-distribution, you must use your credit or cash your check on or before April 20, 2018.

After April 20, 2018, leftover funds will be given to a charitable organization. It will be related to reading, literacy or access by the public to electronic books or as otherwise directed by the Court.  This is called a cy pres distribution. The Class has received court approval to distribute its portion of any unused funds to Reading is Fundamental, a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating children to become lifelong readers. With respect to their portion of any unused funds, the Attorneys General will select one or more recipients and seek the court's approval for that selection.

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