Parallel investigations into the e-book publishing sector

On 2 March 2011, the European Commission issued a press release confirming that on 1 March Commission officials carried out inspections at the premises of companies that are active in the e-book (electronic or digital books) publishing sector in several Member States in order to investigate a possible violation of EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and other restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

The Commission investigation follows the announcement of a parallel investigation in the UK. In January 2011, the UK Office of Fair Trading issued a press release stating that, following a significant number of complaints, it opened an investigation into whether arrangements that certain publishers have put in place with some retailers for the sale of e-books may breach competition rules.

The two press releases (of the Commission and the OFT) provide no other information on the ongoing investigations.  [Gabriele Accardo]