The ABA and Barnes & Noble joint motion to file a friend of the court brief as part of the hearing to approve the final settlement between the Department of Justice and Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins has been granted by Judge Denise Cote who will rule on the judgment later this year. In granting the motion, however, Judge Cote determined that the two organization’s motion would serve as the amicus brief and that no new submissions would be permitted.
In the original filing, made August 1, the ABA and B&N argued that the settlement would hurt their businesses by forcing the houses to discontinue agency pricing on e-books for two years, even though the agency model has never been found to be illegal. The motion also criticized the DoJ’s response to the 868 comments it received about the settlement as lacking any understanding of the publishing business and being riddled with inaccuracies.
In her decision, Cote found that the ABA/B&N brief was not really an argument about why the two should be able to file a friend of the court brief, but rather argued against the final judgment. Given that parties are entitled to reply to the DoJ request for approval of the agreement plus the limitation on the number of pages parties can make to the court, Cote determined she would accept the ABA/B&N motion as their brief.
Any party to the DoJ litigation has until August 15 to file a response to the government motion for approval (responses not to exceed five pages),and the government has until August 22 to file any reply.