25 Days Left to Submit Comments to DOJ

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The deadline to submit comments to the Department of Justice (DOJ) about the proposed settlement with three of the five publishers involved in the DOJ’s civil suit regarding the agency model is June 25. The American Booksellers Association is encouraging booksellers to take advantage of this opportunity to express their opinions about the proposed settlement to DOJ and to share those comments with ABA.

“A growing number of booksellers have shared the public comments that they have sent to the Department of Justice regarding the proposed settlement and the importance of the agency model, and the letters are clear and cogent presentations of their views as business owners directly affected by the court’s potential action as to why the agency model benefits both our industry and consumers,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “To all the booksellers who have written, many thanks for taking part in an extremely important issue of public policy. And to the booksellers who have not yet sent a letter to DOJ, I cannot urge you strongly enough to use this unique opportunity to make your views known.”

The proposed settlement must be approved by the court, but, before that can happen, the Tunney Act requires DOJ to accept comments from the public, to publish the comments, and to submit a written summary of the comments to the federal court charged with considering approval. A federal judge will then determine whether the remedy being proposed is “in the public interest.” (On May 3, ABA CEO Oren Teicher e-mailed member booksellers about the opportunity for public comments.)

Booksellers’ comments should go to:

John Read
Chief, Litigation III Section
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
450 5th Street, NW, Suite 4000
Washington, DC 20530

It would be helpful if booksellers would send a copy of their comments to ABA Content Officer Dan Cullen so that ABA can also track what is being said about the proposed consent decree.

In related news, this week Penguin Group USA and Macmillan, the two publishers in the DOJ suit that have decided to fight the charges, filed their responses in U.S. District Court in New York. See this week’s BTW News Briefs to learn more.