In its motion opposing attorney and RoyaltyShare founder Bob Kohn’s motion to intervene in the deal between the government and three publishers, the U.S. Department of Justice said it knows Kohn is against the recently approved price-fixing settlement. Clearly he hates low prices. “[Kohn] opposes lower e-book prices for consumers,” the motion argues, and “wishes to preserve the effects of what he acknowledges was a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy among all Defendants to raise consumer e-book prices." The filing also takes a swipe at Kohn’s now famous five-page amicus filed as a comic, calling it “a frolic meant more for his own amusement than to assist the Court.” But in the final analysis, the DoJ ignores the substance of Kohn’s argument, and bases its opposition on a simple fact: Kohn simply doesn’t share a common defense with the publishers, and therefore lacks standing.
“Kohn does not meet the federal standard for permissive intervention,” the DoJ argues. “His only stated interest is as a member of the public who disagrees with the United States’ decision to bring this case, disapproves of any settlement, and is dismayed with the defenses offered by Apple and the non-settling publishers. Clearly, Mr. Kohn believes he knows what is best for the industry and e-book consumers and he wants the Court and the parties to adopt his world view. That is not a sufficient reason for granting him party status.”
In a separate filing, the settling publishers make the same claim—that Kohn lacks a common defense with the publishers and has no standing to intervene. “Although Mr. Kohn’s brief shows that he has ties to the book publishing industry and strong interests and views, these views do not make him a potential defendant to claims related to issues in this case,” the publishers argue. Instead, Mr. Kohn’s motion is only a transparent effort to disrupt the settlement.”
Kohn made his motion to intervene on September 7, following the court’s unexpectedly swift approval of the settlement. He now has until Thursday to file his response to the DoJ.