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On Apple's e-Book Permanent Injunction and Admiralty Law

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on September 09, 2013 3:55 PM

While the Internet is going nuts over the Apple e-Book injunction, we couldn't help ourselves when we came across a gem of a case adjudicating the ownership rights to a shipwreck. That's right, how often do you get to read about admiralty law?

So for fun (and we use that term loosely), we thought we'd cover both ...

Apple's e-Book Permanent Injunction

In July of this year, Judge Denise Cote, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, found Apple liable for conspiring to price fix e-Books with five major U.S. publishers: Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette and HarperCollins, Reuters reports. The publishers settled before trial, and last week Judge Cote ordered a permanent injunction prohibiting Apple from entering into agreements with the five publishers that would prohibit the publishers from giving discounts or lowering prices.

That's not all, Judge Cote also is requiring two years of monitoring conducted by a third party. The permanent injunction is set to expire five years after the effective date (thirty dates from the date the final judgment and order for injunction were entered).

Apple maintains that it did not engage in any wrong doing and has indicated that it will appeal, reports The Verge. The Department of Justice sees Judge Cote's order as a "victory the department has won for consumers," reports Electronista.

The Fate of a Shipwrecked Vessel

In 2004, Northeast Research, LLC ("Northeast") found and salvaged a shipwreck in Lake Erie, and filed an in rem action laying claim to the shipwreck as the finder and salvor under admiralty law. New York State ("NY") intervened and claimed title to the shipwreck pursuant to the Abandoned Shipwreck Act ("ASA").

Northeast argued that the shipwreck was in actuality the General Wayne, a ship lost during the War of 1812, in the Battle of Lake Erie. NY disagreed, and argued that the shipwreck was a "nameless 1830s schooner." Regardless, the court found that the ship was abandoned and found in favor of NY. The Second Circuit affirmed and stated that "title vests in New York pursuant to the ASA."

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