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CEA Slams DOJ, Obama Administration Over E-Book Lawsuit Against Apple

The Consumer Electronics Association Wednesday
slammed the Justice Department and Obama Administration for the lawsuit filed
against Apple and publishers over e-book pricing.

That was just one of a mix of reactions out of Washington to the DOJ announcement. Three of the five publishers settled the complaint,
including News Corp.-owned HarperCollins and CBS-owned Simon & Schuster.

decision by the U.S. government to sue Apple
and book publishers for alleged antitrust violations over the price of
electronic books marks another sad milestone in our government's war on
American companies," said CEA President Gary Shapiro.
"Apple is an American crown jewel that other nations covet, yet our own
government leads an attack on its entry into electronic books."

paired that lawsuit with the government's denial of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal
and the $4 billion breakup fee that cost AT&T to argue that current
political leadership is essentially inviting -- he likened the actions to
"catnip" -- the European Union and other governments to extract money
from "successful American companies."

switched metaphors and suggested the Obama administration was a reckless driver
bent on destruction. "Our nation is heading toward an economic cliff, and
the administration is not only putting its full weight on the accelerator, it
is removing the airbags of innovation and growth, which are our best chance at
safely avoiding economic catastrophe."

Shapiro's dismay was Adam Thierer of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. "Apple and the
publishers have come up with a plan that keeps intellectual works flowing while
making sure that the creators behind them get paid. At a time when copyright
critics always say, ‘Just find a better business model,' Apple and the
publishers did just that," he said in a statement. He suggested that it
was the dilution of copyright protection that prompted companies to seek
alternatives. "Now that the effectiveness of traditional copyright is fading
rapidly, industry consolidation, cross-promotions, and pricing deals will
increasingly be the ‘better business model' some will turn to."

DOJ had its fans as well. "We welcome the Justice Department's action
today to ensure that consumers pay a fair price for the e-books they
purchase," said Ellen Bloom, director of federal policy for Consumers
Union. "[T]he policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said,. The
arrangement between Apple and publishers appears to have seriously hurt
competition and left consumers paying more for e-books. This antitrust
suit would put a stop to this practice."