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Justice Department Calls Apple the "Ringmaster" In e-book Price Fixing Case

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the paying-more dept.

Books 192

An anonymous reader writes "Back in April 2012, the U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and a number of publishers for allegedly colluding to raise the price of e-books on the iBookstore. As part of its investigation into Apple's actions, the Justice Department collected evidence which it claims demonstrates that Apple was the 'ringmaster' in a price fixing conspiracy. Specifically, the Justice Department claims that Apple wielded its power in the mobile app market to coerce publishers to agree to Apple's terms for iBookstore pricing."

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192 comments

Interesting (3, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43736565)

Such activities involve a pretty large number of people. It's interesting how they collectively can keep it a secret for a pretty long time.

Re:Interesting (0, Troll)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#43736579)

Such activities involve a pretty large number of people. It's interesting how they collectively can keep it a secret for a pretty long time.

It's even amazing that the "fixed" prices are not essentially different than Amazon or Alibris or BN. Very clever price fixing indeed.

Re: Interesting (2)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43736597)

The difference? Amazon didn't get caught. Yet.

Provide the proof (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736697)

Did you read the article. "Under the old model, Amazon controlled about 90 percent of the market, but after the publishers instituted the new pricing scheme, Amazon's share fell to 60 percent." http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/299875-doj-accuses-steve-jobs-of-being-ringmaster-in-price-fixing-scheme [thehill.com]

Amazon didn't get caught because its done nothing wrong. (well its done lots of things, just not in this instance)

Re:Provide the proof (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43736867)

Sounds like Amazon's monopoly was broken. What's the problem with that again?

Think of the Children (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736935)

Sounds like Amazon's monopoly was broken. What's the problem with that again?

Amazon gained its market share by competing on price, Apple got forming a cartel with publishers using price-fixing.

The bottom line is non-apple customers are being hurt by this, including children.

Re:Think of the Children (0, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43736977)

Sounds like Amazon's monopoly was broken. What's the problem with that again?

Amazon gained its market share by competing on price, Apple got forming a cartel with publishers using price-fixing.

Amazon had a monopoly which they used to abuse the publishers. Apple made separate deals with each publisher (which is not collusion or price-fixing) which broke Amazon's monopoly.

This is exactly how the market is supposed to work. Where once there was one eBook provider, there are now four major providers. Apple is not even the biggest one! How can that be a monopoly or even a trust?

The bottom line is non-apple customers are being hurt by this, including children.

Seriously, how can you say something like this with a straight face? That's straight-up trolling.

Re:Think of the Children (5, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43737071)

Amazon had a monopoly which they used to abuse the publishers. Apple made separate deals with each publisher (which is not collusion or price-fixing) which broke Amazon's monopoly.

Did you not read the article? Prices went up. Sellers agreed to only sell on an agency basis and not a wholesale basis. Please tell me how this is good for consumers? And the reason prices went up? Apple colluded with publishers to remove their books from Amazon if Amazon would not agree to sell at a higher price. How is that not price-fixing?

Re:Think of the Children (-1)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737171)

Prices went up.

Not across the board, and that's not illegal anyway.

Please tell me how this is good for consumers?

More choices, breaking of a monopoly that was strangling the publishing industry.

Apple colluded with publishers to remove their books from Amazon if Amazon would not agree to sell at a higher price.

That's not collusion. Amazon has exclusive book deals as well. Does that mean they "colluded to remove their books from iBooks"?

How is that not price-fixing?

Price-fixing is setting a fixed price (that should be obvious), and that is done by manipulating supply and demand (like what DeBeers does with diamonds, but there needs to be an arrangement between many suppliers of diamonds for this to be illegal).

So the real question is, how is this price-fixing? The prices are variable from book to book and publisher to publisher, and the same book across different services can be sold at various prices. And, finally, there's no collusion between publishers.

Re:Think of the Children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737235)

So the real question is, how is this price-fixing?

Apple used their dominance in the mobile app market to fix their price as the lowest price, if you want to sell in the iBookstore you must give Apple the lowest price and nobody is allowed to sell it for a lower price than Apple.

Re:Think of the Children (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737331)

So the real question is, how is this price-fixing?

Apple used their dominance in the mobile app market to fix their price as the lowest price, if you want to sell in the iBookstore you must give Apple the lowest price and nobody is allowed to sell it for a lower price than Apple.

That's not a fixed price.

As far as using "their dominance in the mobile market", there's so much wrong there I'll just make a list:

1. Apple does not have an app monopoly (required for this to be illegal)
2. App "dominance", even monopoly, has no bearing on book sellers (how is Apple supposed to leverage this against them?).
3. Even assuming they have a monopoly (they don't, but just for argument's sake), in what way did they exploit this?
4. It's funny how supposedly "Android is winning", but somehow Apple is a monopoly.
5. Publishers could have easily not gone with Apple's offer. Amazon was eBook monopoly at the time (which is exactly why they went with that deal, to leverage against Amazon!), and are still the dominant eBook seller (60% market share).
6. There are still books exclusive to Amazon, so clearly this deal isn't as hard core as you make it sound.

This was just a shrewd business deal which gave power back to the publishers and busted the Amazon monopoly (which they were actually abusing against other book sellers, and even the publishers themselves!).

Re:Think of the Children (5, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43737087)

The collusion and price fixing was not between the publishers. The collusion and price fixing was the switch to the agency model and the guarantee that nobody could sell books to the public for a lower price than Apple. Amazon was using it's clout to force prices down. Apple was using it's clout to force prices up - for EVERYONE. As to the anti-trust aspect - there is no law against being the biggest at something. There is no law against being a monopoly at something. There IS a law against using the fact that you are dominant in one area to use anti-competitive tactics in a different area. It does not matter at all even if Apple had 0% of the ebook market. What mattered is that they used there dominant position in one market (mobile apps and iTunes) to make it impossible for anyone to compete with them in a different market (ebooks). How did they make it impossible to compete? By fixing the price.

Re:Think of the Children (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737189)

The collusion and price fixing was not between the publishers.

That's one of only two places where it has to be. Either the publishers get together and agree on a fixed price, or the distributers all get together and agree on a fixed price. Without one or the other, you can't really have collusion or price fixing. Also, laughably, you actually need a fixed price for price fixing (it's right there in the term!).

Please, try again.

Re:Think of the Children (5, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43737261)

Are you really that stupid? Price fixing is when a MINIMUM price to the public for A PARTICULAR ITEM has been set. Since two publishers do NOT sell the same books, how could they possibly be in collusion? The price was fixed because Apple had a deal that NOBODY could sell to the public at a price lower than they could. The collusion was between Apple and the individual publishers. It was collusion because Apple said 'We can sell all the books you like, at a higher price than you are getting now. Stop wholesaling to everyone else and switch to the agency model. And once you do that, make sure nobody can sell your book at a lower price than we can'. If you can't see what is wrong with that, there really is no hope for you.

The point is not that 'Book A' costs exactly the same as 'Book B'. The point is that NOBODY can sell 'Book A' for a lower price than anyone else.

Re:Think of the Children (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737343)

Are you really that stupid? Price fixing is when a MINIMUM price to the public for A PARTICULAR ITEM has been set.

Apparently so, since that's not price fixing. Price fixing is setting a fixed price. Not a "MINIMUM" (does all caps make it true or something?). Also, it requires collusion between either the suppliers or the distributors (in order to manipulate either the supply or the demand to enforce the fixed price), neither of which happened.

Book publishers are well within their rights to set a minimum price for their products.

Please, try again.

Re:Think of the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737425)

Your argument immediately fails when you call someone stupid right off the bat.

Re:Think of the Children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737291)

Also, laughably, you actually need a fixed price for price fixing (it's right there in the term!).

Please, try again.

In actuality you do not need a "fixed price" as the name might seem to imply.

"The defining characteristic of price fixing is any agreement regarding price, whether expressed or implied."

"The purpose is to coordinate pricing for mutual benefit of the traders. For example, manufacturers and retailers may conspire to sell at a common "retail" price; set a common minimum sales price, where sellers agree not to discount the sales price below the agreed-to minimum price"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing [wikipedia.org]

Re:Think of the Children (0)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737359)

The very first sentence of the Wikipedia link (emphasis mine):

Price fixing is an agreement between participants on the same side in a market to buy or sell a product, service, or commodity only at a fixed price, or maintain the market conditions such that the price is maintained at a given level by controlling supply and demand.

Setting a minimum price for a product is not price fixing. Publishers are free to set a minimum price for their books. What they aren't allowed to do is collude together to set a fixed price (minimum or otherwise). Also, the book sellers (like Apple, Amazon, B&N, etc.) aren't allowed to collude to set fixed prices either.

But the seller of a product can set a minimum sales price.

Re:Think of the Children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737483)

Setting a minimum price for a product is not price fixing.

Incorrect, fixing the minimum price most absolutely is price fixing.

"The purpose is to coordinate pricing for mutual benefit of the traders. For example, manufacturers and retailers may conspire to sell at a common "retail" price; set a common minimum sales price, where sellers agree not to discount the sales price below the agreed-to minimum price "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing

"This benefits all businesses or individuals that are on the same side of the market and involved in the conspiracy, as prices are either set high, stabilized, discounted, or fixed." only fixed.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/price+fixing

"Under the act, it is immaterial whether the fixed prices are set at a maximum price, a minimum price, the actual cost, or the fair market price."
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/price+fixing

In Apple's case they fixed a minimum price.

Re:Think of the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737937)

Talking to myself setting a minimum floor price is this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resale_price_maintenance

It is illegal depending on circumstances to do it some countries:

http://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/imposing-minimum-resale-prices

Re:Think of the Children (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#43737691)

how was amazon a monopoly?

I don't understand how you glance over or through this fact?

you can lower prices to whatever the shit you want, but individual deals with every publisher is what this wasn't. Low prices are not by themselves predatory, even at $0. This was collectively agreeing to the same thing and signing for it individually.

Re:Think of the Children (-1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43737059)

Amazon gained its market share by competing on price, Apple got forming a cartel with publishers using price-fixing.
The bottom line is non-apple customers are being hurt by this, including children.

Thank you so much for ridiculing your own argument. It saves me the bother.

Re: Interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736725)

Ever notice how negros often have egg-shaped heads instead of the more spherical heads of whites? You esp see this whenever young black males shave their head to avoid having to deal with their frizzy nappy hair.

Perhaps this explains their diminished brain capacity and tendencies towards violent crimes.

Re: Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736755)

Have you read Quetelet?
http://ia600306.us.archive.org/19/items/treatiseonmandev00quet/treatiseonmandev00quet.pdf

Re: Interesting (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43737301)

Ever notice how negros (snip rest of stupid post)

Is it possible that stupid shit like this can be modded down to -2 level?

Re: Interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737493)

So, what black-governed country in Africa would you be willing to relocate to? South Africa fails the "black governed" criteria, you know.

Cat got your tongue? Don't want to live in a place like that? Yeah. You guys, you criticize but you are not willing to back up your criticism with action. Cowards.

Re:Interesting (1)

cc_pirate (82470) | about a year ago | (#43736681)

Such activities involve a pretty large number of people. It's interesting how they collectively can keep it a secret for a pretty long time.

It's even amazing that the "fixed" prices are not essentially different than Amazon or Alibris or BN. Very clever price fixing indeed.

BS they weren't 'different'. They were SIGNIFICANTLY higher. At least $3 to $5 higher under the 'agency' model, which on a book that was $9.99 is a 30 to 50% price hike.

Are you some Apple fanboi or something?

Re:Interesting (2)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#43736921)

Such activities involve a pretty large number of people. It's interesting how they collectively can keep it a secret for a pretty long time.

It's even amazing that the "fixed" prices are not essentially different than Amazon or Alibris or BN. Very clever price fixing indeed.

BS they weren't 'different'. They were SIGNIFICANTLY higher. At least $3 to $5 higher under the 'agency' model, which on a book that was $9.99 is a 30 to 50% price hike.

Are you some Apple fanboi or something?

Your pulling monkeys out of your butt. Here's an actual price comparison:

http://paidcontent.org/2012/09/11/apple-is-already-fighting-amazon-in-the-ebook-price-wars/ [paidcontent.org]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/cheapest-ebooks-amazon-ibooks-google-barnes-noble_n_1952736.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Yes sometimes Amazon is cheaper. But mostly not. Sometimes apple is cheaper.

Re:Interesting (1)

neuralstatic (2671867) | about a year ago | (#43736657)

it's my recollection that this was just offering an alternative to what amazon was already doing. if there is more than one outlet, then one outlet can't fix prices. am i foggy about amazon already being there?

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43736737)

Amazon was operating under a normal wholesale/retail model. They bought from the publisher for some agreed-on price, and sold the books to the public for a price they set (which could be higher or lower than what they paid the publisher). Apple convinced the publishers to stop selling to Amazon and switch to an agency model. Under the agency model, the publisher set the price the public paid, and gave the retailers a cut of that. Apple also managed to write into the contracts that nobody could get less of a cut than Apple. That is price fixing.

Re:Interesting (0)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#43736883)

Amazon was operating under a normal wholesale/retail model. They bought from the publisher for some agreed-on price, and sold the books to the public for a price they set (which could be higher or lower than what they paid the publisher). Apple convinced the publishers to stop selling to Amazon and switch to an agency model. Under the agency model, the publisher set the price the public paid, and gave the retailers a cut of that. Apple also managed to write into the contracts that nobody could get less of a cut than Apple. That is price fixing.

No that is not price fixing. Walmart and Amazon and everyone else with clout signs contracts that say they must always be given the lowest price. And nearly all goods makers have contracts with sellers that fix the lowest price a good can be advertised at. (that's why you see those signs on web pages that say "add to cart to see price"-- cause they can't advertise it.

Re:Interesting (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43736993)

Yes, Amazon and Walmart, etc have contracts that say THEY will be given the lowest cost. However, Amazon, Walmart, and everyone else can set whatever price their customer pays. Prices are not 'fixed' in that scenario. One retailer may use their lower cost to lower the price for their customers, someone else may use their lower cost to increase their profits. Even someone who was not given a lower cost can sell to the public for a lower price than Amazon or Walmart if they want. In the agency model, the PUBLISHER sets the price the final customer, not the retailer, pays. And the deal with Apple (nobody gets less of a cut than us) means that even if Amazon were to say 'Apple is getting a 30% cut, we'll take 20%, cut our customers price accordingly', they publishers can't do it. The price has been fixed.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737723)

Yeah, this is called re-sale price maintenance, and it is illegal in Australia and I assume the USA. The wholesaler can make any arrangements they like and get any price they like from the retailer, but they cannot tell the retailer how much to sell that particular item for - that's why its called a Recommended Retail Price and not a Mandatory Retail Price. The fact that different items have different prices misses the point.

Re:Interesting (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43737199)

Amazon was operating under a normal wholesale/retail model. They bought from the publisher for some agreed-on price, and sold the books to the public for a price they set (which could be higher or lower than what they paid the publisher). Apple convinced the publishers to stop selling to Amazon and switch to an agency model. Under the agency model, the publisher set the price the public paid, and gave the retailers a cut of that. Apple also managed to write into the contracts that nobody could get less of a cut than Apple. That is price fixing.

Good thing Apple has $100 billion on the bank. They might need it.

Except its not true (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736679)

Such activities involve a pretty large number of people. It's interesting how they collectively can keep it a secret for a pretty long time.

It is was published in his biography. This has been going on for forever.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43737157)

Such activities involve a pretty large number of people. It's interesting how they collectively can keep it a secret for a pretty long time.

It wasn't a secret so much as thinking the government wouldn't come after them for it. Everybody knew about it.

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43737637)

Because it really only takes a couple of people at the top level, everybody else will just follow orders. See the price fixing on DRAM and LCDs to see how you had price fixing covering companies halfway across the world from each other but it really only took a handful of high level board members to get it set up.

This is why I've been saying that while its great we're not seeing "site requires IE" anymore we have to be vigilant so we don't replace one master with another. Just look at how Apple is trying to ram through DRM into HTML V5 after killing an open codec minimum for HTML V5 for patent trolls MPEG-LA (which of course doesn't hurt them as they can pay the license fees) and how everybody tripped over themselves to kiss the ring of St Steve and cheering the death of Flash...when in reality it was simply Apple making sure nothing ran on Apple hardware that they didn't get a cut.

So we really have to watch it, because unlike MSFT whose efforts are hamfisted and so obvious Stevie Wonder could spot them the marketing team at Apple is fucking brilliant and can sell AC units to Eskimos and as we saw with IE once you let a company get too powerful it takes ages to undo the damage.

Apple need to do no evil (4, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736573)

...and customers get bent over; thank Apple

And the rest of us have to pay a premium for its Monopolistic abuse. Call me a hater.

What is missing from the article is this is saint Jobs corrupt to the core.

"Jobs explained to his biographer that he told the publishers, "We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30 percent, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.” http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/299875-doj-accuses-steve-jobs-of-being-ringmaster-in-price-fixing-scheme [thehill.com].

Thankfully Microsoft is slowly catching up so we will be back with that evil duopoly again.

Re:Apple need to do no evil (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43736653)

Using a 'favoured nation' policy to force suppliers to charge Apple's cut to non-Apple customers or eat the cost is an abuse of their market position (more-so at the time than now) and should be very illegal.

Re:Apple need to do no evil (0, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737011)

Aside from being Apple, which you hate irrationally, what exactly is your complaint? What do you think Apple did that was wrong? They used an existing model, which is legal. They broke a monopoly, which is not only legal, but generally considered beneficial. They brought eBooks to more people.

And in the end, Amazon is still the top eBook seller, so Apple didn't even take a controlling share of the market. So what did they do wrong?

Re:Apple need to do no evil (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737407)

You need to be more of a shill. It's only super obvious, not quite the hyper obvious you're apparently going for.

violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43737415)

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/ebooks04112012b.pdf [wsj.com] from the filing

"The purpose of this lawsuit is to enjoin the Publisher Defendants and Apple from further violations of the nation's antitrust laws and to restore the competition that has been lost due to the Publisher Defendants' and Apple's illegal acts. Defendants'
ongoing conspiracy and agreement have caused e-book consumers to pay tens of millions of dollars more for e-booksthan they otherwise would have paid"

...it could be that I'm irrational :)

Re:Apple need to do no evil (0)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43737735)

They raised prices for me when buying books from sellers that want access to Apples market.

Re:Apple need to do no evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737069)

A monopoly? Do you know what this word means?

Re:Apple need to do no evil (4, Funny)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43737219)

Proposed penalty: 1. Refund customers 30% for every bit of electronic media they sold since they started this corrupt practice. 2. 2-year ban on Apple selling electronic media -- e-books, music and video.

Laissie Faire?? (0)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about a year ago | (#43736601)

Not defending Apple's pricing, in fact I think that they are in many ways douchebags, but why is this an antitrust situation? They are negotiating with vendors to reach the price point they desire. They are just reaching for a higher price point, instead of a lower one. They can't set their prices to what their customers will bear? I'm not about to click all of the links in the article, which isn't much of an article, but unless they were colluding with these publishers to charge higher prices everywhere, I don't see a problem. If Apple's customers are such zealots that they won't consider other sources for their media, let them pay the prices.

Don't have a problem with cosumers stuffed (-1, Troll)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736659)

Not defending Apple's pricing

Yes you are, don't lie. Their behaviour is disgusting. They should be banned for their anti-capitalist, anticonsumer (again) behaviour. Cook should go to Jail.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartel [wikipedia.org]

Re:Don't have a problem with cosumers stuffed (2)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about a year ago | (#43736895)

Sorry, I initially misunderstood the problem - I was cooking dinner and more or less skimmed the article. I was thinking they were colluding to enable them to fix their prices at a higher price point, then it dawned on me that they were colluding to raise the publisher's prices to other vendors so they could undercut them, and using strongarm tactics to do it... Thinking a little slow tonight - had a reading comprehension fail! :-)

Re:Don't have a problem with cosumers stuffed (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737029)

Not defending Apple's pricing

Yes you are, don't lie. Their behaviour is disgusting. They should be banned for their anti-capitalist, anticonsumer (again) behaviour. Cook should go to Jail.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartel [wikipedia.org]

What behavior? You're damn near the only person arguing strongly against Apple in this story, and you haven't said once what they did that you think is wrong!

Tim Cook should go to jail? For selling books? For letting the publishers pick the prices they sell them at? You're a fucking idiot. But worse, you're a fanboy who thinks proper business practices are "evil" for simply being done by the wrong company.

Re:Don't have a problem with cosumers stuffed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737345)

Fucking rabid fanboi... the really nauseating part is that you keep spouting what is either PURPOSELY selective interpretations that support your bias, or you're retarded. I also notice that every time you've thrown up one of your b/s questions about "what has my BFF Apple done wrong?", and someone properly answers you, instead of realising why you're wrong, you just ignore the response and then pop up in ANOTHER thread spouting the same stupid shit.

Apple colluded with the publishers to set a floor price on the publisher's product that NO RETAILER was allowed to sell below --> YOU CAN'T DO THAT LEGALLY! Every retailer is supposed to be free to sell a product for whatever price they want (even below their cost), and THAT was how the market WAS working originally, UNTIL Apple came along and used it's mobile and music market share to coerce the book publishers into first forming an illegal cartel and then setting a market-wide minimum price TO CONSUMERS, a price that APPLE decided was fair. With these agreements, Apple effectively RAISED THE COST of books to EVERYONE: you could no-longer shop COMPETING vendors to buy at the best price, because now EVERYONE had to sell it to you for no less than what Apple specified (so no Vendor could decide to compete with Apple by lowering prices). THAT'S ILLEGAL PRICE-FIXING, and it was done by Apple, so that they wouldn't have to face competition from vendors based on price (Apple makes its bank by overcharging for EVERYTHING, competing on price is antithetical to their ethos, and their business modem.)

-AC

Re:Don't have a problem with cosumers stuffed (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737377)

Apple colluded with the publishers

That's impossible. The publishers have to collude together. Apple "colluding" with them individually (which is exactly what they did), is called standard business. A contract between two companies is not collusion (unless they are on the same side of the supply or distribution aspect and represent a monopoly on a product or commodity).

Fucking rabid fanboi...

If but that you mean the idiots who hate Apple (or MS, or Google) for no reason other then they prefer the products from another company, you have me confused with the Slashdot peanut gallery. It's a common mistake for the members of said gallery to see anyone who defends "Evil Company X" as a "fucking rabid fanboi".

Lol.

Re:Don't have a problem with cosumers stuffed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737435)

So the proper response to...

...you keep spouting what is either PURPOSELY selective interpretations that support your bias, or you're retarded.

...is both. You're both cherry-picking and retarded. Good to know.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (4, Informative)

kris2112 (136712) | about a year ago | (#43736665)

The DoJ's case alleges that the agency pricing model had a clause where the publisher wouldn't sell their books in other stores for less than they were charging in the iBookstore. If true, this is Collusion, and falls under anti-trust laws. http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/collusion/ [uslegal.com]

Re:Laissez Faire?? (1)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about a year ago | (#43736851)

Thanks. I don't use iTunes, or iAnything, but the reported prices in the article ($12.99 to $14.99) are equal to or less than typical prices on Amazon and B it's dawning on me now that if Apple's been strongarming the publishers to achieve this situation, then, yes, that could be antitrust behavior. I was initially thinking they were colluding to fix prices artificially high for themselves, when it seems it was to raise other vendor's prices. Actions like refusing to approve apps for the crap store if the pricing wasn't fixed is definitely against things like the Sherman act.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (4, Informative)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year ago | (#43736911)

It is all in how you say it; if you say that if the publisher offers a better price to another outlet, they must match that price for Apple, then it is ok. The tricky part is that if Apple's clause says that Apple can match any other retailer's price and give the publisher 30%, but that would seem like it still isn't collusion; it creates a situation where selling to Amazon at wholesale is better than selling to Apple at an Agency model. Hence the publisher's collusion amongst themselves to force Amazon to the agency model.

What I understand of the agreement seems pretty clean from Apple's perspective, but not as much for the publishers.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (0)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year ago | (#43736929)

The DoJ's case alleges that the agency pricing model had a clause where the publisher wouldn't sell their books in other stores for less than they were charging in the iBookstore. If true, this is Collusion, and falls under anti-trust laws. http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/collusion/ [uslegal.com]

No it's not. Almost every major retailer insists on the lowest price. Walmart does, Amazon does.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737221)

Those clauses are on the price the supplier sells to the retailer.

This agreement forced the lowest final price for the customer to be in the istore - which is to say that even if Amazon wanted to be cheaper than apple by taking a loss, they wouldn't be allowed. You are thus using collusion to fix not just your price but other people's. It's certainly an anti-trust violation and everyone involved deserves the fullest punishment possible.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#43737037)

Hmmm... You know that's exactly what is in all government contracts too, right? You can't charge anyone less than what you charge the government for the same thing. Sounds kind of similar.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (0)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737047)

The DoJ's case alleges that the agency pricing model had a clause where the publisher wouldn't sell their books in other stores for less than they were charging in the iBookstore. If true, this is Collusion, and falls under anti-trust laws. http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/collusion/ [uslegal.com]

The definition isn't that long. Here it is:

Collusion occurs when two persons or representatives of an entity or organization make an agreement to deceive or mislead another. Such agreements are usually secretive, and involve fraud or gaining an unfair advantage over a third party, competitors, consumers or others with whom they are negotiating. The collusion, therefore, makes the bargaining process inherently unfair. Collusion can involve price or wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship betweeen the colluding parties.

For example, in a divorce action, the husband and wife may agree to fabricate a story or suppress evidence to provide evidence of lawful grounds for a divorce. As another example, collusion may involve cooperation between competing sellers, in the form of an agreement, express or tacit, limiting competition, or a merger or other means to raise the market price above the competitive level.

Where's the collusion? The first sentence: Collusion occurs when two persons or representatives of an entity or organization make an agreement to deceive or mislead another.

Who is being mislead? Other than anti-Apple fanboys who think Apple did something wrong here.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1)

kris2112 (136712) | about a year ago | (#43737335)

I think if Apple had not required publishers to sell in other stores at or above the iBookstore prices, this wouldn't be an issue that the DoJ would pursue.

Other than anti-Apple fanboys

Ah, the fanboy chestnut.

I make my living writing iOS and Mac OS software. I'm commenting from a Mac Pro with an embarrassing number of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches connected to it. If anything, I can be accused of being an Apple fanboy.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (-1, Troll)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737431)

I think if Apple had not required publishers to sell in other stores at or above the iBookstore prices, this wouldn't be an issue that the DoJ would pursue.

That's not illegal. And this whole thing is absurd because it levels the playing field. Amazon can no longer force publishers into shitty deals, which is what was happening before Apple entered the picture.

Amazon would tell publishers "you will sell to us at this (absurdly low) price, or we won't carry your print book". They are the real predator here.

Other than anti-Apple fanboys

Ah, the fanboy chestnut.

It's only a "chestnut" because people use it to mean "someone who likes something I don't like", which, quite ironically, is almost universally more fanboyish than the person being called a fanboy.

I personally think "fanboy" is a good term (to be a fan of something), but the OSS/Linux/Android crowd perverted it to mean the above.

I make my living writing iOS and Mac OS software. I'm commenting from a Mac Pro with an embarrassing number of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches connected to it. If anything, I can be accused of being an Apple fanboy.

My apologies, I jumped the gun.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43737575)

Putting pressure on your suppliers is not predatory or illegal. Every successful business pressures it's suppliers. Sometimes the pressure is cost, sometimes delivery, sometimes quality, etc. You may as well complain that the consumers are the real predators here, because they are the ones who want the low prices from Amazon, Walmart, etc.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1)

kris2112 (136712) | about a year ago | (#43737665)

I think if Apple had not required publishers to sell in other stores at or above the iBookstore prices, this wouldn't be an issue that the DoJ would pursue.

That's not illegal. And this whole thing is absurd because it levels the playing field. Amazon can no longer force publishers into shitty deals, which is what was happening before Apple entered the picture.

Amazon would tell publishers "you will sell to us at this (absurdly low) price, or we won't carry your print book". They are the real predator here.

Starting to look like we're in violent agreement here.

I find it silly that the DoJ has brought this case. But they have, and I'm trying to understand their justification for doing so. The collusion angle is the only one I can come up with that holds any water.

In the ebook market, Amazon is far more dangerous than Apple and the publishers. Accusations have been made that Amazon pays publishers up to $15 for each of those $9.99 Kindle sales. If so, that's dumping to drive competitors out of business, and falls under anti-trust law. It's also why, when buying ebooks, I buy directly from the publisher first, from iBookstore second, and Amazon last. Even if buying from the first two means I pay a bit more.

Other than anti-Apple fanboys

Ah, the fanboy chestnut.

It's only a "chestnut" because people use it to mean "someone who likes something I don't like", which, quite ironically, is almost universally more fanboyish than the person being called a fanboy.

I personally think "fanboy" is a good term (to be a fan of something), but the OSS/Linux/Android crowd perverted it to mean the above.

I make my living writing iOS and Mac OS software. I'm commenting from a Mac Pro with an embarrassing number of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches connected to it. If anything, I can be accused of being an Apple fanboy.

My apologies, I jumped the gun.

No problem. I've just grown tired of fanboy accusations and how that ruins otherwise intelligent discussions.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736691)

If I recall correctly (it's been a while, so please forgive me), part of the agreement made with Apple involved ensuring that the iBook price for books X, Y and Z was the universal baseline price for those titles. For instance, if such-and-such a title was available through Apple for $12.99, it couldn't be made available through Amazon or B&N for $9.99.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#43736757)

This is even messier because it deals with books, mostly copyrighted works. Copyright is a state-granted artificial monopoly - mix in anti-collusion statues and you get one fine convoluted mess.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43736785)

unless they were colluding with these publishers to charge higher prices everywhere, I don't see a problem.

that's exactly what they were doing.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (0)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43736803)

From what I understand, apple and publishers basically all wanted to set ebook prices for the range of 12.99 to 14.99. Apple threatened to (and did) block apps for publishers that didn't agree or didn't jump on board right away, as leverage. It's kind of a big deal because Apple was hoping to negotiate things in a way to prevent wholesale outlets, like Amazon, from having a choice in setting ebook pricing by having having deals with all the publishers that released all the ebooks through Apple first (at full book price). This is in contrast to Amazon, who wanted to market ebooks as less-expensive alternatives to physical books, probably to reflect the fact that you aren't buying a physical product. Since Amazon isn't exactly a small fish in that pond, some publishers were very concerned about pissing Amazon off, although they all did eventually say yeah we'll follow apples lead, partly due to Apple blocking their apps otherwise.

I think publishers ultimately wanted to move into a position where they can sell ebooks at the normal physical book price (complete with DRM and everything), but didn't want to kill relations with Amazon in the process. For the publishers side, one of the main issues they had was that Apple was demanding the normal 30% off the top for every ebook sale, which was in many cases worse than letting Amazon give its discounts. But again, since Apple was threatening with the whole app blocking thing, the went with it.

It's worth noting that all of the publishers have settled with DoJ without a fight.

Re:Laissez Faire?? (1)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about a year ago | (#43736943)

Thanks. I did some more research on it, and realized that I misunderstood the problem when I first read (skimmed?) the article. It seems they were using strongarm tactics to coerce the publishers into charging higher prices to their competition. I don't use iAnything, and really have no idea how big Apple's book store is, or how many e-books they sell. My library system has quite a selection of e-books for checkout, and I prefer to do that over buying them, anyway.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43737015)

It's worth noting that all of the publishers have settled with DoJ without a fight.

It's worth noting that Apple hasn't. You do realise the publishers may have colluded without Apple's involvement.

Re:Laissie Faire?? (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#43736991)

The issue is how much collusion was there between Apple and the publishing companies to set these prices--which, according to the e-mails, was quite a bit. Apple was working to craft an agreement that all the publishers would agree to, not individual agreements with the publishers. That's collusion.

But Amazon is of course a saint (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43736637)

I find it amusing the Apple is accused of being a "ringmaster" when it's Amazon that is in total dominance of the electronic book market and pricing. That was just as true back in the period when Apple was supposedly manipulating publishers...

Amazon was trying to break up the eBook market the same way they broke up the DRM eMusic industry. Sadly Apple did not succeed in the eBook case, so I hope you all really like the Kindle format!

Except its not. (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736729)

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/299875-doj-accuses-steve-jobs-of-being-ringmaster-in-price-fixing-scheme [thehill.com] "Under the old model, Amazon controlled about 90 percent of the market, but after the publishers instituted the new pricing scheme, Amazon's share fell to 60 percent."

Its not amusing at all. Amazon dominate by competing on old fashioned things like price, Not being corrupt. I find it sick that your defending a mega corporation (again), when the illegal corrupt actions affect everyone.

Re:Except its not. (3, Insightful)

Graymalkin (13732) | about a year ago | (#43736957)

Man I fucking love using market share as metric! Since it is a unitless number it can be used to say anything you want. So under the old model, Amazon controlled 90% of the [market for eBooks]. After publishers instituted their new pricing scheme Amazons market share fell to 60% of [the market for eBooks]. That sounds absolutely terrible!

Unless of course you realize market share is a unitless number that doesnt tell us jack shit. Before publishers changed their prices we dont know what the size of the eBook market was so we dont know what Amazons unit sales or dollar sales were for that time period. After publishers changed their prices we still dont know what the size of the eBook market was so were still unable to tell what Amazons unit or dollar sales were.

Without knowing Amazons unit or dollars sales it is impossible to know if they were materially affected by the change in publisher prices. With Apple entering the eBook retailer arena and thus bringing an eBook store to many tens of millions of iPhones, iPods, and iPads they very likely increased the overall size of the eBook market. Google also entered the fray selling books and magazines in this period of time.

Google and Apple selling eBooks likely increased the total size of the eBook market which means unless Amazons sales grew in that same period at the same rate as the total market their share of that market could only decrease. This isnt rocket surgery. Market share simply cannot show that competitors ate Amazons market share or if their share decreased from market growth. As such market sahre cant possibly be used to show that publishers changing their pricing model positively or negatively affected Amazon. This isnt about defending megacorporations but about not using stupid numbers to make definitive arguments.

Market share means market share. (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43737103)

Man I fucking love using market share as metric! Since it is a unitless number it can be used to say anything you want

No market share means just that market share. If you want to express a number meaning % of the market irrespective of the size of the market you would use that. In this instance its the perfect metric.

Re:Except its not. (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43737871)

Amazon didn't lose share because of Apple. If they had Apple would have gained 40%. But instead B&N gained 20% and Apple, Sony, and Kobo split the rest. As the market grew other companies picked up customers. Nothing to do the price fixing Apple was involved in.

Re:Except its not. (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43737053)

"Under the old model, Amazon controlled about 90 percent of the market, but after the publishers instituted the new pricing scheme, Amazon's share fell to 60 percent."

SO Amazon's near monopoly was broken. Good thing.

Its not amusing at all. Amazon dominate by competing on old fashioned things like price, Not being corrupt.

That's about as rational as saying the same thing about Microsoft and Walmart.

I find it sick that your defending a mega corporation (again)

Kind of how you're defending Amazon, the book monopolist.

Re:Except its not. (1, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737113)

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/299875-doj-accuses-steve-jobs-of-being-ringmaster-in-price-fixing-scheme [thehill.com] "Under the old model, Amazon controlled about 90 percent of the market, but after the publishers instituted the new pricing scheme, Amazon's share fell to 60 percent."

Its not amusing at all. Amazon dominate by competing on old fashioned things like price, Not being corrupt. I find it sick that your defending a mega corporation (again), when the illegal corrupt actions affect everyone.

It's quite... fascinating, how you can defend a monopoly and demonize the company that broke the monopoly, doing the very thing you just defended the monopoly for doing in the first place!

Apple entered the book market and competed against Amazon doing the very thing you laud Amazon for doing: they competed on price!

That's some highly potent fanboy fanaticism in action!

Re:Except its not. (2)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year ago | (#43737255)

Its not amusing at all. Amazon dominate by competing on old fashioned things like price,

Competing on price is an understatement. Amazon was losing money on purpose; it's more fair to say Amazon was competing via predatory pricing [wikipedia.org]. Lose money on books now until everyone else has been run out of business, then significantly raise the prices once they're the only game in town. The outcome of that would have been something that would have benefited no one but Amazon.

On a side note, the wholesale model doesn't make any sense for ebooks anyhow. It's based around the realities of inventory, which wouldn't apply to ebooks.

Re:Except its not. (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43737311)

It is dirt cheap to sell ebooks. There is almost no barrier to entry at all, especialy for an established retailer. Therefore, your scenario can't happen, because as soon as Amazon raises the price the competitors will re-appear. Yes, in some industries predatory pricing is a real problem. Ebooks is not one of those industries.

Re:Except its not. (3, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43737843)

90% is not really a valid number. Amazon had 90% market share because they had no competition. B&N and Borders didn't even have an ereader for a several years. Apple came in 5 years too late. Amazon never had a true monopoly. Of course Amazon lost share once others entered the market. And while they lost share they didn't lose customers. There were still growing like hell converting their customers from physical to digital.

Re:But Amazon is of course a saint (4, Informative)

lucm (889690) | about a year ago | (#43736733)

I find it amusing the Apple is accused of being a "ringmaster" when it's Amazon that is in total dominance of the electronic book market and pricing.

This story is about collusion with publishers, not about market share. Read the article, there is a part where they discuss Amazon.

Re:But Amazon is of course a saint (-1, Redundant)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43737251)

This story is about collusion with publishers,

I did not say they did not collude with publishers. Of course they colluded with publishers - the point was to help the publishers set the price of books, not Amazon. It's about collusion but in the end the point of that action was the monopoly.

Is collusion bad when it breaks a nascent monopoly?

Re:But Amazon is of course a saint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737325)

p>Is collusion bad when it breaks a nascent monopoly?

Do the ends justify the means?

Re:But Amazon is of course a saint (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43737455)

Do the ends justify the means?

If the ends and the means involve more freedom and consumer choice, then yes.

Re:But Amazon is of course a saint (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#43737365)

What is wrong with being a monopoly? Simply being a monopoly is not a problem, and is not illegal. What IS illegal is when the power of that monopoly is used to gain an unfair (anticompetitive) advantage in a DIFFERENT area.

Re:But Amazon is of course a saint (3, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43737913)

Amazon "dominance" was totally a result of them converting their existing physical book customers into digital customers. They were doing this years before Apple even put out the IPad. B&N, and Kobo were also late. They were out there with only Sony as a competitor. So they had 90% share when it was them vrs Sony. Sony didn't have a huge website with millions of book sales. So of course Sony was clobbered. When Amazon main physical book rival B&N came out with the Nook their share went down. Then the Apple launched IBooks and prices went up on best sellers. Then their was the lawsuit. Then prices went down.

Ring master (-1, Offtopic)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year ago | (#43736647)

I call the Justice department the ringmaster in violating [c-spanvideo.org] the civil rights of The Press.

I call the Justice department the ringmaster in agenda driven gunwalking cover-ups [wikipedia.org].

I call the Justice department the ringmaster in whistleblower persecution [theatlanticwire.com].

Price fixing e-books? Yippie disposable income doesn't actually rate at this point; we have bigger problems.

Books are precious (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736815)

Price fixing e-books? Yippie disposable income doesn't actually rate at this point; we have bigger problems.

Yeah it kind of does. Ignoring the fact that this is also about protecting education...and history has taught us how important that is, and well books are kind of a big deal from a political perspective..from an information perspective...its why people want to burn them. This is an open attack on capitalism, and on the consumer by Apple which needs an immediate ban on Apple products. Books are precious

It is not only important, but Apple employees need to start being Jailed starting with the board.

Fair Vertical Price Fixing (1)

a_big_favor (2550262) | about a year ago | (#43736823)

Vertical price fixing pertains to arrangements between a manufacturer, distributor, supplier or retailer. Horizontal price fixing, which would involve competitors colluding to set prices, remains illegal. Courts have held that vertical maximum price fixing, like the majority of commercial arrangements subject to the antitrust laws, should be evaluated under the rule of reason. Therefore, suppliers of goods and services don't necessarily violate antitrust laws by setting maximum prices their retailers can charge.

http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/price-fixing/ I don't like Apple, as in refuse to buy their products and services, but this seems like Vertical price fixing which seems fair as this agreement guarantee's Apple prices are fair within the market of that particular eBook.

Cartel (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43736891)

I don't like Apple, as in refuse to buy their products and services, but this seems like Vertical price fixing which seems fair as this agreement guarantee's Apple prices are fair within the market of that particular eBook.

As a long time and faithful Apple user. this is about a Catel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartel [wikipedia.org]
"A cartel is a formal (explicit) "agreement" among competing firms. It is a formal organization of producers and manufacturers that agree to fix prices, marketing, and production.[1] Cartels usually occur in an oligopolistic industry, where the number of sellers is small (usually because barriers to entry, most notably startup costs, are high) and the products being traded are usually homogeneous. Cartel members may agree on such matters as price fixing, total industry output, market shares, allocation of customers, allocation of territories, bid rigging, establishment of common sales agencies, and the division of profits or combination of these. The aim of such collusion (also called the cartel agreement) is to increase individual members' profits by reducing competition."

Cartels are very very bad. Apple board members should start going to jail.

Re:Cartel (1)

a_big_favor (2550262) | about a year ago | (#43737009)

"agreement" among competing firms.

But they don't fit the definition of cartel. The agreement is not between Amazon and Apple. It's between Apple and someone selling an eBook.. If Apple and Amazon had an agreement, as in a Horizontal price fix, then it would be a cartel. If I were to have a book on the store, I could prize my book at $20 on Amazon, and if tell apple they can sell it at $25, they have the right to not allow purchases through their store. Im not sure why someone would do that other than the hope people probably blindly buy things without price checking on some sites more than others.

Re:Cartel (0)

node 3 (115640) | about a year ago | (#43737135)

A cartel would be an agreement between the publishers. Do they have an agreement amongst themselves? No. They all have separate, independent agreements with Apple, which is completely legal. Not just completely legal, but that's exactly how business works. You open a store and make deals with suppliers to provide goods for your store. How do you think it's supposed to work?

Try again, fanboy.

Re:Fair Vertical Price Fixing (1)

tmorehen (2731547) | about a year ago | (#43737025)

Only Apple's arrangement did not set a vertical maximum price. It set a vertical minimum price. No one is allowed to undersell Apple. That's bad for consumers.

Re:Fair Vertical Price Fixing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737119)

Many companies set minimum prices, minimum advertised prices, etc. Maybe you've even seen items on Amazon where they won't show you the price until you add it to your cart. Courts have repeatedly found it to be legal.

the govt is the ringmaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737433)

I think the answer is clear, I would rather either Apple or Amazon have any money then the govt or the infrastructure the govt uses to parasitically extract from these innovative ventures. The govt is desperate, and becoming more and more aggressive. I am seeing tons of damage to small local businesses due to govt financial issues. Just like the hospitals stayed alive by falsifying cause of death and increasing malpractice the govt will reorganize itself around a profit motive and survive unless we self organize without them... the clock is ticking... good luck ;)

Mr. Cook ... Beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43737815)

Tomorrow,
1) your statements in the USA Congress will be recorded and as such can be used against you in a court of US Law.

2) given this you have the right to remain silent.

3) you have the right to an attorney, and if you can not pay for the support of an attorney the court will provide you with one.

4) do you understand these statements read to you Mr. Cook ? Do you have the ability to affirm or disaffirm the words read to you this day ?

Mr. Cook ... please forgive us ... but can you answer to the question ? Mr. Cook ... this is taking too much time ... please answer .... ?

The Judge looks to the Guard at the Chambers Doors. They now know what to do.

The Press and 'Interested Onlookers' are escorted from the Chamber.

Mr. Cook looks .. worried ! Ah Ha the Judge picked that up ! The Judge orders Mr. Cook to be bound by chains on his ankles and neck ... Mr. Cook Objects .. Bad choice Mr. Cook ... Mr. Cook is beaten by the Guards.

The Judge proclaims. Well Mr. Cook. Welcome to your reality ! Do you like it ? Do you believe you are privileged human being to exist on Earth ?

Blood gushes from Cook's mouth from the beatings. There are more to come !

The Judge proclaims. Mr. Cook you have much wealth but the world has little wealth. What do you propose to correct this inequity ?

Cook breathing heavily looks up to the Judge but says nothing !

Ah ! The Judge Proclaims. Mr Cook, you 'Attitude' is not in keeping with this tribunal. You must think about your like and future if ... there is to be such ! That is you hands as of ... now ! What is your answer !

Cook vomits more blood on the floor. One of the 'Attendants' gives Mr. Cook a 'Hello' head butt from his rifle ... Mr. Cook falls to the floor yet again.

The Judge Proclaims. Mr. Cook ... please forgive but we are very ... how should I say ,.. Ah ... We are tired of your pathetic display. Do you Want To Die ? If So We Will Render You To Hell !

Mr Cook collapses to the floor ... not breathing.

The Judge Proclaims. Ah ! God is indeed wise !

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