The US Department of Justice last week recommended Apple be banned from entering into anti-competitive e-book distribution contracts for five years.
The penalty followed a ruling in a civil antitrust case that Apple had played a “central role” in a conspiracy with the publishers to raise e-book prices.
The five major publishers, including HarperCollins, Penguin and Macmillan, submitted papers in a Manhattan court challenging the contract ban. They believe the move will punish them rather than Apple as it would elimate to so-called “agency model” whereby the publishers, rather than Apple, set the retail price for ebooks.
Only Apple went to trial, while the publishers agreed to pay more than $ 166m for the benefit of consumers.
The iPhone maker filed a motion last week objecting to the DoJ’s proposal, calling it a “draconian and punitive intrusion”.
A hearing to discuss remedies is scheduled for Friday. US District Judge Denise Cote has said she also plans to hold a trial on damages.