Publishers powerless in global distribution

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The US department of justice’s antitrust case against Apple highlights how little regulators understand the digital world.

Watching regulatory bodies deal with issues around fast-moving technologies has always been an agonising business. Not so much an embarrassing uncle dancing at a wedding, more a high-court judge trying to describe dubstep.

Latest in the line of such cases is the decision by the US department of justice to launch an antitrust case against America’s biggest company, Apple, and a group of book publishers – essentially for charging too much for ebooks and using what is known here as “an agency model” but which in the UK might be described as a cartel.

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