Remember this settlement against the major labels and distributors in the MAP (minimum advertised pricing) antitrust case?
- The lawsuit alleged the five music distributors (including their affiliated labels) and three large music retailers entered into illegal conspiracies to raise the price of pre-recorded music to consumers. The defendants in the lawsuit are music distributors Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., Universal Music Group and national retail chains Transworld Entertainment Corporation, Tower Records, and Musicland Stores Corporation. The defendants deny these allegations.
Today's agreement calls for the defendants to change sales practices to ensure strong price competition among retailers. The companies will pay $67,375,000 in consumer compensation, charitable purposes, or some combination of both. Notice of how to file a claim will be provided to the public at a later date. Finally, the defendants will provide approximately 7,000,000 music CDs (valued at $75,500,000) for distribution by the state attorneys general to not-for-profit corporations, charitable groups and governmental entities such as schools and libraries for the benefit of all consumers in each state.
3.5 million consumers responded to the settlement, and it looks like they are going to receive a grand total of $12.60 each:
- A federal judge plans to rule next week on the proposed settlement of a music antitrust lawsuit that would put roughly $12.60 in the pockets of 3.5 million consumers.
Judge D. Brock Hornby heard testimony for more than three hours Thursday on the fairness of the agreement that calls for music distributors and retailers to pay $143 million in cash and compact disks.
Terms of the settlement call for checks to be mailed to 3.5 million people who filed claims under the class-action lawsuit. The actual amount depends on how much money goes to lawyers and distribution fees.
The payout would culminate an antitrust suit that was started by prosecutors in several states in 1996.
The lawsuit, signed by the attorneys general of 43 states and territories and consolidated in Portland in October 2000, accused major record labels and large music retailers facing competition from discount retailers like Target and Wal-Mart of conspiring to set minimum music prices.
The defendants — Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corp., Universal Music Group and Bertelsmann Music Group, as well as retailers Tower Records, Musicland Stores and Transworld Entertainment — deny any wrongdoing. Attorneys representing the companies declined to testify in court.
....The settlement also prohibits major music distributors from tying cooperative advertising efforts to retailers' advertised prices. [AP]