Judge approves DOJ settlement in e-book case

NEW YORK (AP) ? A federal judge has approved a U.S. government settlement with three major publishers accused of conspiring with Apple to fix the prices of electronic books.

The ruling released Thursday requires the publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster, to abandon a pricing system that they conceived in 2010 when Apple Inc. released the iPad and began selling digital books in its iTunes store.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved the deal nearly five months after the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging Apple worked with the largest digital book publishers to rig a system designed to counteract Amazon.com’s pricing practices.

Apple is fighting the lawsuit’s allegations along with two other book publishers, Macmillan and the Penguin Group. They will attempt to make their case in a trial next June.