Apple will begin making payouts this week to people who purchased e-books online during a two-year-period, according to the terms of a settlement reached between Apple and 33 states who sued the company.
The payouts come after resolution of litigation filed against Apple and five major book publishers by the states and the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal lawsuit alleged that the company and the publishers conspired to inflate e-book prices between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012.
The U.S. District Court in New York in June 2013 found that Apple “conspired to restrain trade” with the publishers, and the company was found liable for damages, court papers show. But before further litigation could determine damages, there was a settlement between the states and Apple.
The company agreed to pay $400 million to consumers if the trial court’s finding of liability was affirmed. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan affirmed the finding on June 30, 2015, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple’s petition to review that decision on March 7, 2016.
Apple claimed in its petition that the lower judge’s decision wasn’t in line with Supreme Court precedent. Apple could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The $400 million is in addition to $166 million the publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster, agreed to pay out in a separate settlement in 2014.
“Thanks to this settlement, New Yorkers will be rightfully compensated for Apple’s unlawfully inflated E-book prices,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement this week. “When any company engages in anticompetitive conduct that hurts consumers, we will hold them accountable.”
Apple will be distributing $6.93 per New York Times bestseller and $1.57 per other e-books purchased during the inflation period. The money will come in the form of credit on the Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble or Kobo accounts where the purchases were made, Schneiderman’s office said. Customers who used Sony or Google accounts to purchase e-books, or select Kobo accounts, will get a check in the mail.
Schneiderman’s office said New Yorkers are to receive an estimated $25.9 million from Apple’s distribution in addition to the $8.9 million given to state residents in 2014 from the publishers’ settlement.