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DOJ, PRH, and S&S Request Book Deal Info in Antitrust Suit: What Agents and Authors Should Know

Agents, you might have received requests from the Department of Justice, Penguin Random House and/or Simon & Schuster’s attorneys to produce documents about your clients’ book deals in the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against the PRH-S&S merger.

Authors, you may already be hearing about these requests from your agents or will soon and may have concerns.

The information being sought by attorneys for the parties relates to books acquired through various processes, and may include author names, book titles, rights granted, and amounts of advances.

We have looked into these discovery requests, spoken to many agents, attorneys for the agents, and PRH, and we have some information to share that might be helpful and assuage some of your concerns.

Information for Agents

  • Do retain an attorney to represent your interests. The attorneys on the list provided by PRH are all excellent litigation attorneys who know the publishing industry well.
  • The attorneys will represent YOU – not PRH or S&S. Attorneys are legally required to fully protect the interests of their clients – and only their interests – no matter who pays.
  • The AG is happy to review your engagement letters with the attorneys with you. Just email us at
  • If you do receive a subpoena, you should comply. You are legally required to do so unless your lawyer successfully objects based on overbreadth, vagueness, or such.
  • There is a Protective Order already in place in the case that will cover any information about the book deal(s). Click here to read the Protective Order.
  • Do NOT fret! Your lawyers will make sure that all of the sensitive information produced by you will be clearly marked as HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL – which is necessary to ensure that it is covered by the Protective Order.

Information for Authors

  • There is a Protective Order already in place in the case that will ensure confidentiality regarding any information your agent might provide about you or book deal(s). They will make sure any information obtained in this process about you or your book deals, including what rights you gave and what advance you obtained, and royalties earned, will be designated as HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL per the terms of the Protective Order. Click here to read the Protective Order.
  • Only PRH’s and S&S’s outside attorneys, the DOJ, and experts are permitted to see your HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL information. The attorneys representing the case may not share HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL information produced by third parties with the publishers’ in-house attorneys or editors.
  • PRH and S&S are in discussions with the DOJ to determine how they can use sensitive information obtained in the litigation without it becoming public. Examples of how this might be done include keeping the courtroom closed during trial to anyone but the lawyers and judge, redacting all publicly filed documents, and/or anonymizing all information.
  • Rest assured, all of the agents we have spoken to are treating these requests with the highest level of care to protect their clients.
  • We will keep a close watch on the case and work to make sure that all HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL information does in fact remain protected during the entirety of the litigation.
  • If you have any questions or have information to share, please send an email to