by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 11th 2011 7:11am
For many years, we wondered why the major record labels weren't brought up on price fixing charges concerning their various digital music deals. It involved all of the major labels working out deals where the price of music was exactly the same across the board and where it was the labels themselves who got to determine the end-user price rather than the retailer, which seemed like clear cases of price fixing. It used to be that manufacturers were not allowed to require a retailer to price in a certain way, as that would be prima facie evidence of price fixing but more recently rulings have dialed back that rule. Still, it seemed like some of the other aspects of digital music pricing still represented clear price fixing. It took long enough but finally some people sued. While a lower court had tossed out the lawsuit, last year we noted that the 2nd Circuit appeals court had reinstated it. The labels appealed to the Supreme Court, who has now allowed the case to move forward by rejecting an appeal from the labels. At this point, I wonder if the labels won't try to settle the lawsuit in an attempt to avoid a full trial. The chances that the labels might lose seems decently high and the costs to them could be quite high.
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