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Lawyer Files Five-Page Cartoon Brief in Apple E-Book Case

Bob Kohn, an expert in music licensing law and chairman of RoyaltyShare Inc., filed a five-page brief in panel-cartoon format, urging a judge to reject a settlement in a price-fixing case over e-books.

Kohn, a nonparty to the lawsuit who said he’s a consumer of e-books, asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York last month for permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the Justice Department’s suit against Apple Inc. and its April settlement with three publishers.

Kohn today filed the cartoon, or “graphic novelette,” version of what he’d proposed as a more conventional 25-page, prose-only, brief after Cote limited him to just five pages, he said in an interview.

“The high court said that collusive conduct is OK under rule of reason where there is a countervailing pro-competitive virtue,” Kohn explains to his daughter, a Harvard University graduate student, in one of the panels.

The panels, which include citations to court papers and legal rulings, are preceded by a page of authorities for Kohn’s arguments.

Kohn said he believes the brief complies with local court rules, which require text of 12-point or larger and one-inch margins on all sides.

“I’m hopeful I can have an impact on the court’s thinking in a positive way,” said Kohn, a lawyer who has written on music licensing.

RoyaltyShare, based in San Diego, provides Web-based royalty processing and content management services to the entertainment industry.

The Justice Department sued Apple Inc. and five publishers in April, claiming they colluded to set prices for electronic books. Three of the publishers settled the case. Cote must approve the settlement for it to take effect.

The case is U.S. v. Apple Inc., 12-cv-02826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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