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Frequently Asked Questions


BASIC INFORMATION

1. What are these lawsuits about?

Answer:

Antitrust lawsuits were filed by Class Plaintiffs and 33 Attorneys General (“Plaintiffs”). These lawsuits claim 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 10) 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 is 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 11) 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 are Anthony Petru, Thomas Friedman, and Shane S. Davis.

3. Why is there an Apple Settlement?

Answer:

The Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs who brought the lawsuits think the Apple Settlement is best for everyone who is affected, as it eliminates the risks and uncertainty of the amount of money, if any, a jury would award in a damages trial. It also avoids risks from the legal arguments Apple could make on appeal from a damages trial, which could negatively affect the amount of money consumers would get.

Under the Apple Settlement, the amount paid to consumers was decided based on the out come of Apple’s appeal of the finding that Apple violated the antitrust laws. 

  • Apple agreed to pay consumers $400 million if Apple lost its appeal of the finding that it violated antitrust laws, resulting in a total of $566 million recovered from all defendants. This equals about 200% of the maximum damages Plaintiffs’ expert had determined consumers suffered.

Apple denies that it did anything wrong and denies that its conduct harmed consumers but has agreed to the Settlement to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty associated with further litigation in the District Court. 

4. 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?          

5. How do I know if I am part of the Apple Settlement?

Answer:

You are 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 are 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.)

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

Answer:

If you received a notice by email or postcard, you purchased at least one qualifying E-book and are included in the Apple Settlement. Your qualifying E-book purchases will be determined based on the records of the retailer(s) through which you bought your E-book(s).  (See Question 14 for how to get a payment.)

If you did not receive a notice, but think you may be included, you can research your purchases and the publishers of those E-books to determine whether your E-book purchases are eligible to receive a payment from the Apple Settlement.  More information is available in FAQ questions #5 and #14.

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

Answer:

If you have reviewed the information available on this site and are still unsure if the Apple Settlement includes your E-book  purchase(s), please email info@EbookLawsuits.com, or call 1-866-686-9333 for further assistance.

8. What is a qualifying E-book?

Answer:

In the Apple Settlement, a qualifying E-book is 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 this Settlement, audio books, “apps” sold through the app store, and textbooks are not considered to be E-books and do not qualify for a distribution.  Qualifying E-books include all E-books sold under agency contracts by any of the Settling Publishers during the period from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012.

9. What is an imprint?

Answer:

Many of the Settling Publishers have imprints or divisions within their companies that publish E-books that are 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 be 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.

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

Answer:

You are 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.

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

Answer:

You are 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

12. What does the Apple Settlement provide?

Answer:

The Apple Settlement provides $400 Million in consumer recovery.

The Apple Settlement also provides for separate payment of $30 million to Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and payment of $20 million to the Attorneys General for attorney fees, expenses and payment for release of enforcement claims.

 

13. How much will my payment be?

Answer:

The amount of your credit or check will be affected by how many qualifying E-books you purchased. Eligible Consumers, will receive two levels of payments, based on categories of E-books:

  •  New York Times bestsellers: $6.93 per E-book. These E-books include Adult Fiction, Non- Fiction and Advice titles, the hardover 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.

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

Answer:

Eligible Consumers will receive payments shortly. What you must do to get a payment depends on the retailer(s) through which you bought qualifying E-books.

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 will receive a credit in your account automatically, or you may be required to activate the credit using instructions provided by the retailer. 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 will automatically receive a check in the Apple Settlement.
  •  E-book purchases through Sony: You will receive a check automatically.
  •  E-book purchases through Google:

~ If you already filed a valid Claim Form and received a check in the Prior Settlements, you do not need to file a Claim Form in the Apple Settlement.  Your previously filed Claim Form will be included in the Apple Settlement and you will receive a check automatically.
~ If you have not previously filed a Claim Form, you were required to file a Claim Form by October 31, 2014.  Eligible claimants will be mailed a payment is the distribution occurs.

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

  •  If you already 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 will be included in the Apple Settlement and you will receive 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 are providing notice and providing account credits voluntarily for your convenience. None of these retailers have been sued in this case.

Please remember that no matter who your E-book retailer is, 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. Click HERE for details on how to update your contact information.

15. 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 will apply to all Settlements.

16. When will I get a payment?

Answer:

The Court has approved the Settlement, and the Liability Finding is final. Credit distributions to consumers will occur between June 21, 2016 and June 24, 2016.  There will be additional transit time in the case of checks mailed to consumers.

17. 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 or call 1-866-686-9333 for assistance.

18. How do I exclude myself from the Apple Settlement?

Answer:

To exclude yourself from the Apple Settlement, you must have complete an Exclusion Form postmarked no later than October 31, 2014. The deadline to file an Exclusion Form for the current Apple Settlement and the Prior E-book Settlements has passed.

19. If I excluded myself from the Apple Settlement, can I still get benefits from the Settlement?

Answer:

No. You will not get any benefits from the Apple Settlement if you excluded yourself from the Settlement.

20. If I excluded myself from the Apple Settlement, can I sue Apple separately?

Answer:

If you excluded yourself, you may be able to sue Apple about the issues related to this case. If you did not exclude yourself, you gave up your right to sue Apple about the issues related to this case.

OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

21. How do I object?

Answer:

The time for objections has passed.

22. What's the difference between objecting and excluding myself?

Answer:

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Apple Settlement. You could have objected to the Apple Settlement only if you did not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself from the Apple Settlement is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement. If you excluded yourself from the Apple Settlement, you had no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you. The time for both objections and exclusions has passed.

23. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Apple Settlement?

Answer:

The final approval hearing was held at 2:00 p.m. on November 21, 2014, at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, located at 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York. At the hearing, the Court approved the Apple Settlement. The Court's approval order was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the decision of the District Court.

24. Do I have to come to the hearing?

Answer:

No. The Court held its hearing on the proposed Settlement on November 21, 2014.

25. May I speak at the hearing?

Answer:

No.  The Court held its hearing on the proposed Settlement on November 21, 2014.  The opportunity to speak at the hearing has passed.

IF YOU DO NOTHING

26. What happens if I do nothing at all?

Answer:

You will receive a payment from the Apple Settlement if you received a credit or a check in the Prior Settlements.  How you receive such payment from the Apple Settlement depends on the retailer(s) through which you bought E-books.

  •  If you bought qualifying E-books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Apple, or Kobo: You will receive a credit in your account automatically or receive credit activation information;
  •  If you bought qualifying E-books through Sony: You will receive a check automatically; and
  •  If you bought qualifying E-books through any other retailer not listed above: You will receive a check automatically if you filed a valid Claim Form in the Prior Settlements.

If you do nothing at all, you might not receive your payment automatically. If your mailing address and/or e-mail address has changed, please be sure to update your contact information. (See Question 17.)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

27. 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 call 1-866-686-9333.

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

Answer:

After the end of the distribution process, the Attorneys General and Class Counsel will make a decision whether they will distribute further funds to class members, or whether a distribution to a charitable organization will be made. If leftover funds are 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 any unused funds to Reading is Fundamental, a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating children to become lifelong readers.

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