It’s the Conspiracy, Stupid!

April 11, 2012 by Thad McIlroy

A lot of “ink” will be spilled in the days and weeks ahead about the Department of Justice lawsuit against the large New York-based publishers. Too much of the ink will be focused on pricing, authors, Amazon and other abstractions.

If you read the complaint from the DOJ you’ll see that the issue is not agency pricing, or whether $12.99 is more or less fair than $9.99.

It’s about the conspiracy under 15 USC Chapter 1 – Monopolies And Combinations In Restraint of Trade of the Sherman Act, first passed in 1890.

That’s all. If there wasn’t a conspiracy, then no laws were broken. If there was…

If you’re unfamiliar with the background, Laura Hazard Owen offers an excellent briefing.

April 16: David Carr provides his usual well-informed take in the New York Times.

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  • Claudia

    Nice to have such a clear explanation. Do you think Amazon is behind this in any way?

    • http://www.thefutureofpublishing.com/ Thad McIlroy

      I don’t think Amazon needed to push: the die was cast. Although Amazon is certainly moving quickly to kick ‘em when they’re down: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/business/media/amazon-to-cut-e-book-prices-shaking-rivals.html