SD among 15 states accusing Apple of ebook pricing scheme

Posted April 11, 2012, at 5:39 p.m.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Attorney General Marty Jackley said Wednesday that the antitrust lawsuit South Dakota and 14 other states filed against Apple Inc. and major book publishers over the pricing of electronic books “seeks to restore the free market for e-book sales.”

Jackley joined more than a dozen state attorneys general to charge three of the country’s largest book publishers with colluding to fix the sales prices of ebooks. The Justice Department is a plaintiff in the suit along with the states. The case accuses the defendants of violating state laws and the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.

“The actions of these companies to control the price of e-book sales violate antitrust laws at the expense of South Dakota consumers,” Jackley said in a news release. He added that the suit will hopefully “return monies” to South Dakota consumers.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the charges in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. He said executives at the highest levels of the companies conspired to eliminate competition among ebook sellers.

Authorities said that the total cost to consumers was more than $100 million since April 2010, when Holder said the alleged scheme took effect.

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