If you’re getting weary of publishing-related lawsuits dragging on in the Southern District of New York, you have company—Judge Jed Rakoff, the judge in the recently filed Book House Of Stuyvesant Plaza, Inc. et al v. Amazon.Com, Inc. et al, in which indie booksellers have sued Amazon and the big six publishers over their exclusive Kindle agreements. In a tersely worded order issued yesterday, Rakoff deemed a proposal from the parties to delay—or at least greatly drag their heels—“completely unacceptable,” and denied the motion.
In their joint proposal, the bookseller plaintiffs and the publisher defendants asked Rakoff to stay discovery in the case, and to give the parties fairly generous time periods to file replies, and motions to dismiss. Notably, in a footnote, the parties state that one key defendant, Amazon, has not yet responded to the suit.
The suit, filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, contends that Amazon along with Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan signed contracts “specifically designed to limit the use of digital content” to various Kindle devices, while the publishers have not entered into any agreements with independent bricks-and-mortar or independent collectives to sell e-books.
The three named plaintiffs (The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza of Albany, N.Y.; Fiction Addiction of Greenville, S.C.; and Posman Books of New York City) seek to represent a class of independent brick-and-mortar independent bookstores, and are seeking an injunction prohibiting the publishers and Amazon from “selling e-books with device and app specific DRMs,” while also requiring the big six publishers to allow independent bookstores to directly sell “open-source DRM e-books.”