Following an investigation into alleged eBook price-fixing, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin earlier this month, who refused to settle. Other publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, settled and reached an agreement to return Amazon to its previous wholesale model and dismantle Apple’s agency model. The settlement also included agreements with select states that would see $51 million in restitution paid to those who purchased eBooks through Apple’s platform. Now, several Canadian publications are reporting class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple and the five publishers throughout Canada.
Lawyer Normand Painchaud spoke with The Montreal Gazette about his class-action suit filed in Quebec Superior Court and talked about two others filed in Ontario and British Columbia:
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Reached Friday morning, Painchaud said his is one of three lawsuits in Canada, with other requests for class actions being launched in British Columbia and Ontario… If successful, any Canadians who bought ebooks since April 1, 2010 would be eligible for damages. And since prices went from less than $10 to $12, $14, or even more for an ebook, these could be significant sums.
Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that a similar class-action suit filed in B.C. Supreme Court, as mentioned by Painchaud. Lawyer Reidar Mogerman, who filed the case last week, spoke with the publication:
“The U.S. case isn’t going to cover Canadian consumers. So it’s the same underlying facts, it’s the same consumer protection agenda, but it is for different consumers in a different country.”
Apple and the publishers have not responded to the cases, and —as of this week— statements of defense were not filed in Canadian courts. The allegations named in the Canadian cases mirror those in the Department of Justice’s investigation and antitrust suit.