Tag Archives: lawsuit

The FTC and 17 States Sue Amazon for “Illegally Maintaining Monopoly Power”

Amazon logo

Not unexpectedly, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 17 attorneys general have sued Amazon claiming it is a monopoly and has engaged in “interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power.” The FTC is being joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin in the lawsuit.

Amazon is accused on stopping rivals, preventing sellers from lowering their prices, degrading quality for shoppers, overcharging sellers, stifling innovation, and preventing rivals from competing against Amazon.

It’s not the size of Amazon that’s the issue, instead the suit focuses on actions that prevent competition on price, product selection, quality, and preventing rivals from attracting a critical mass of shoppers and sellers.

The FTC has stated the issue is in the two markets of Amazon, the soppers and the sellers. In a news conference, FTC chair Lina Kahn stated sellers are paying one of every $2 to Amazon which increases prices for shoppers.

From the release, tactics include:

  • Anti-discounting measures that punish sellers and deter other online retailers from offering prices lower than Amazon, keeping prices higher for products across the internet. For example, if Amazon discovers that a seller is offering lower-priced goods elsewhere, Amazon can bury discounting sellers so far down in Amazon’s search results that they become effectively invisible.
  • Conditioning sellers’ ability to obtain “Prime” eligibility for their products—a virtual necessity for doing business on Amazon—on sellers using Amazon’s costly fulfillment service, which has made it substantially more expensive for sellers on Amazon to also offer their products on other platforms. This unlawful coercion has in turn limited competitors’ ability to effectively compete against Amazon.

Also mentioned in the announcement are:

  • Degrading the customer experience by replacing relevant, organic search results with paid advertisements—and deliberately increasing junk ads that worsen search quality and frustrate both shoppers seeking products and sellers who are promised a return on their advertising purchase.
  • Biasing Amazon’s search results to preference Amazon’s own products over ones that Amazon knows are of better quality.
  • Charging costly fees on the hundreds of thousands of sellers that currently have no choice but to rely on Amazon to stay in business. These fees range from a monthly fee sellers must pay for each item sold, to advertising fees that have become virtually necessary for sellers to do business. Combined, all of these fees force many sellers to pay close to 50% of their total revenues to Amazon. These fees harm not only sellers but also shoppers, who pay increased prices for thousands of products sold on or off Amazon.

Amazon has gobbled up numerous companies in the “geek space,” most notably comiXology which has since been degraded in services and folded into the Amazon/Kindle system. It’s unknown what deals Amazon imposed on publishers about digital comic pricing.

The FTC and states are seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that prevents Amazon from engaging in these tactics.

Amazon’s senior vice president for global public policy stated in a statement posted on Amazon’s website:

The practices the FTC is challenging have helped to spur competition and innovation across the retail industry, and have produced greater selection, lower prices, and faster delivery speeds for Amazon customers and greater opportunity for the many businesses that sell in Amazon’s store.

This isn’t the first action under Khan’s leadership against the FTC. Amazon was sued earlier this year for how it automatically renewed customers’ Prime subscriptions, it has proposed Amazon pag $25 million for alleged improper storage of children’s data obtained through Alexa devices, and Amazon settled with the FTC for $5.8 million in May for allowing employees to view data obtained through Ring cameras.

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Damn Them All Vol. 1

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below. While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web to end your weekday!

ICv2 – Third Annual Tom Spurgeon Award Goes to Calvin Reid – Well deserved. Congrats!

CBLDF – Texas HB900 Lawsuit Update – For those looking at an update and overview of the case.

CBR – GA Principal Cancels Speech About Batman Co-Creator for the Use of the Word ‘Gay’ – All about the censorship and outright hate against certain groups.


CBR – Cat-Eyed Boy
The Beat – Damn Them All Vol. 1

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It’s a new week and we’re still going over stories from SDCC. Expect a lot more coverage to come! While the week kicks off, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web to start the day.

ICv2 – CBLDF, ABA, AAP, Booksellers Sue Over New Texas Law – Good.

Huffington Post – Judge Blocks Arkansas Law Allowing Librarians To Be Criminally Charged Over ‘Harmful’ Materials – Also good.

ICv2 – Diamond Addresses Competitive Issues, Changes, and Postpones Retailer Summit – Interesting read.

Kotaku – Chainsaw Man Creator Wants To Stop Drawing Manga, Just Write Its Story – Do it!

Kotaku – Spider-Man 2 PS5 Consoles And Accessories Are Now Available For Pre-Order – Nice.


Collected Editions – Gotham Academy: Second Semester Vol. 1: Welcome Back

Marvel settles with four artists over a superhero copyright battle

Marvel logo

A court battle has ended between Marvel and Larry Lieber and the estates of Don Heck, Gene Colan, and Don Rico. Marvel has dropped its lawsuits against the four with prejudice after an “amicable resolution” was reached. A similar fight with the estate of Steve Ditko and Marvel looks to still be ongoing. The four artists in which settlements were reached involved the creation of Iron Man, Ant-Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Blade,and Captain Marvel.

Under the Copyright Act, creators can terminate a copyright assignment after decades as long as certain circumstances are met. Marvel sued the artists whose work spanned from the 1950s to the 1970s after they sought to terminate and reclaim copyrifhts.

Marvel has consistently taken the stance that creators’ work were made for hire which prevented their ability to recapture the copyrights.

In 2013, Marvel won a similar case in a U.S. appeals court involving Jack Kirby. The case was settled as the U.S. Supreme Court was considering to take up the case.

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City Boy #1

It’s new comic book day. What are you excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below. While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Kotaku – Fortnite Gets Spider-Man’s Miles Morales Ahead Of Spider-Verse Movie – Shocker.

CBR – Florida Lawsuit Seeks to Overturn The State’s Wide-Sweeping Book Bans – Good. Hopefully it works.

Book Riot – 9 Amazing Graphic Novels from AAPI Artists and Writers – What else would you include?

The Beat – Fantagraphics and Thomas Woodruff respond to the FRANCIS ROTHBART! Eisner controversy – Really bad responses.

Chicago Mag – Supers, Human – Get to this Alex Ross exhibit if you can.


CBR – City Boy #1
CBR – Grand Slam Romance
CBR – Poison Ivy Vol. 1 The Virtuous Cycle

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Dark Ride #4

It’s MLK day here but we’ve got it packed with a lot of news and featured articles. Hope you all enjoy the weekend and shout out in the comments if you did something geeky!

ChatGPT is Eating the World – The Trial of AI: 1st Class Action Copyright Lawsuit filed against AI image generators Stability AI, Midjourney + Deviantart (Complaint in Sarah Andersen v. Stability AI Ltd) – This is going to be very important.

CBR – Snowpiercer Season 4 Seeks a New Home as TNT Scraps Airing Plan – Well that stinks.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: The Legendary Lynx rides again from Alex Segura! – Free comics!


Collected Editions – Batgirls Vol. 1
Collected Editions – Batman: Urban Legends Vol. 2
CBR – Dark Ride #4
Collected Editions – Fourth World by John Byrne Omnibus
Collected Editions – I Am Batman Vol. 1
CBR – Specs #3
The Beat – The Third Person

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Mosely #1

The weekend is almost here! How are you all holding up this first week of the new year? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Beat – Graphic Medicine Award 2023 opens for submissions and expands to two categories – Such an interesting space in comics.

CBLDF – Texas School Investigated by Office for Civil Rights After Books Pulled – Good.

Kotaku – Oops: Microsoft Called FTC Unconstitutional, Regrets The Error – Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to go over well.


CBR – Mosely #1
CBR – Star Trek #3
CBR – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Armageddon Game – The Alliance #3

Paramount’s Sale of Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House blocked by a Judge

Simon & Schuster

The sale of Simon & Schuster to the owner of Penguin Random House has been blocked. The decision was made by a judge on Monday.

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Florence Y. Pan wrote in the decision:

Upon review of the extensive record and careful consideration of the parties’ arguments, the Court finds that the United States has shown that ‘the effect of [the proposed merger] may be substantially to lessen competition’ in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books.

Penguin Random House said they would appeal and have called the decision a setback.

The $2.175 billion deal was revealed in November 2020 and was part of ViacomCBS’ effort to sell off assets that weren’t core to its streaming strategy. The plan was to sell Simon & Schuster to Bertelsmann, the owner of Penguin Random House. The US government filed a lawsuit in November of last year arguing the deal would give the two publishing houses too much influence and power over what is published and how much authors are paid. The combined companies would control close to half the market for acquisition of publishing rights.

Penguin Random House is the largest publisher in the United States. It has more than 90 imprints and releases about 2,000 books a year. If the merger happened, it’d have gained Simon & Schuster’s 30-plus imprints and its roughly 1,000 titles a year.

In our analysis, we questioned the impact of not just the acquisition of graphic novels and comics by the publishers but their distribution as well. Each has seen an influx of comic publishers as more have expanded their distribution choices or completely left Diamond Comic Distributors. The merger would have also shrunk the bookstore distribution for the comic market with an unknown impact.

Overall, this is a victory for the Biden administration which has made these types of challenges a priority.

Gender Queer Virginia Case is Officially Over

Gender Queer

In August, a Virginia judge dismissed the obscenity lawsuit against Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir and Sarah MaasA Court of Mist and Fury. Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Pamela Baskervill ruled that neither book meets the standard for obscenity under Virginia law and that the obscenity law itself was unconstitutional.

Though the case was dismissed there was still a chance the two individuals behind it, Republican State Delegate Tim Anderson and failed Republican congressional candidate Tommy Altman, could appeal and drag it out further. Anderson vowed the “fight would continue” and that Altman was reviewing the appeal options.

Now, with the deadline passed, the case is officially over. Neither Anderson or Altman have appealed the case which settles this particular flashpoint.

It’s a battle won within an ongoing culture war. Gender Queer is one of the most challenged books in the country and become a flashpoint being used in political elections as an attack point by the right.

Virginia Judge Dismisses Gender Queer Book Ban lawsuit

Gender Queer

A Virginia judge has dismissed an obscenity lawsuit that put Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir and Sarah MaasA Court of Mist and Fury further in the spotlight and possibly restricted in the commonwealth. Following a hearing this Tuesday, Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Pamela Baskervill ruled that neither book meets the standard for obscenity under Virginia law and that the obscenity law itself was unconstitutional.

Republican State Delegate Tim Anderson and failed Republican congressional candidate Tommy Altman decided to abuse a little-used rule that allows indviduals to launch obscenity proceedings in the state. Both felt the material in the books were explicit and unsuitable for those under 18.

The lawsuit would have restrict not just the sale of the book but potentially even individuals sharing the books with each other.

Judge Pamela Baskervill dismissed the case stating that Altman and Anderson hadn’t provided substantial evidence the books were obscene and that Virginia’s laws around obscene books violated the First Amendment. You can read ruling 1 and ruling 2.

Losing attorney Anderson stated on Facebook the fight would continue and that Altman is reviewing the appeal options stating they feel the standard for obscenity for children should be different than for adults. Both we’re sure were very pro empowering parents in the most recent election but seem to not think parents can make those decisions for their kids. That makes them hypocrites.

Gender Queer has become a target in the national attacks on literature. It’s yet another example of the book banning that is being pushed by right-wing provocateurs to make gains politically by stoking “culture wars”.

As has been shown, a dark money network is funding campaigns against “Critical Race Theory”, something not being taught in schools. This book banning is an off-shoot of that showing these pushes are about as natural as an oral bowel movement. The “movement” is being used as a wedge issue to whip up voters by the right since they have nothing else to run on. It attempts to pit parents vs. bureaucrats (and teachers and librarians), a match that’s unfortunately pretty easy to get traction on. The movement has been working for decades and continues the right-wing push to take over at the local level, first at the state and now even lower to get their regressive agenda passed.

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