RosettaBooks will continue acquiring and selling its list of e-book editions of modern classics after a New York appellate court upheld a district court decision not to issue a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the publisher from moving ahead with its business. The court found that there "is some appeal to appellant's argument that an e-book...is simply a form of book." But it chose not to overturn Judge Sidney Stein's district court ruling, saying that there was neither a strong enough likelihood of victory on Random's part nor sufficient evidence that letting Rosetta continue operating would harm Random's interest. Random House filed suit in the Southern District of New York against Rosetta last year to block the release of e-book editions of eight titles published by Random imprints (News, April 16, 2001). After a court denied Random's bid for a preliminary injunction, the company appealed the decision.
The next step is a full trial, although that is not expected to take place until the fall at the earliest. In their two-page decision, the judges found that it is Rosetta's prerogative to continue marketing the titles; any alleged lost sales incurred by Random could be recovered as part of damages if it wins the case.
Random, seizing on the language that granted its argument merit, said it will fight on. "We see no reason for our momentum to slow down," said spokesman Stuart Applebaum.
On the subject of Rosetta, Applebaum wouldn't confirm published reports that Random chairman Peter Olson has asked other publishers to help fund the suit. He did say that the litigation "is something we took on not only as Random House Inc., but, quite unofficially, on behalf of all of the book publishing industry. It's an issue we care about with quite a great deal of conviction, and we believe that conviction is shared by many others."