After Writers House agent and Association of Authors Representatives digital rights committee member Simon Lipskar got some traction from an open letter he wrote to the DoJ listing, in great detail, the ways in which the department's suit against publishers was misguided and ill-informed, the AAR is making public an official letter of its own.

Gail Hochman, president of the group, said that on Tuesday it sent a letter to its members, as well as to the DoJ, "outlining the position of the AAR Board on the settlement, and urging members (and their clients) to write their own feelings about the settlement to the Department."

The letter sent to AAR members reads as follows:

Dear AAR member:

I am writing to advise you that the AAR Board has unanimously voted to send the attached letter to the U.S. Department of Justice in opposition to the pending settlement with three publishers in connection with the antitrust lawsuit that the Department recently filed against Apple and five publishers. That letter was sent today. The case will continue against Apple and two of the publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, who declined to settle on the proposed terms.

The AAR Board and I believe that the lawsuit, and the proposed settlement, present issues that are of critical importance to our (and our clients') industry and individual livelihoods. The DOJ must read and report to the judge, who must ultimately approve the settlement, each communication it receives commenting on the proposed settlement. For that reason, in addition to the AAR's letter we urge all AAR members to express their views on the settlement to the DOJ and we hope you will also urge your clients to do the same. Your note might address whether you feel the settlement will foster competition and well-being in the literary marketplace, or the opposite. There is a time limit for such communications, so your messages should be sent as promptly as possible. (The address is on the AAR's letter.) We believe it is tremendously important that we all be heard on this most significant issue. We believe the more letters from publishing professionals that are received, the better the chance of affecting the judge's final decision. (A link to the proposed settlement is also pasted below.)

The AAR is also arranging an open forum at which we will discuss the various elements of the suit and the proposed settlement for those who would like to hear more about it and join the discussion. Details to be announced.


Gail Hochman

President, AAR