The DOJ has defended their lawsuit against Apple and other publishers saying that the action is in the “public interest”.

The case has apparently prompted 868 responses from the public, both for and against the deal. According to Fortune, of these 868 responses, 798 of which opposed the DOJ’s stance in the issue.

The plaintiffs claim the DOJ "does not object to the agency method of distribution in the e-book industry, only to the collusive use of agency to eliminate competition and thrust higher prices onto consumers."

The Justice Department’s filing, in response to Apple’s submitted comments relating to the trial, suggested that critics are acting in "their own self-interests, and they prefer that unfettered competition be replaced by industry collusion that places the welfare of certain firms over that of the public."

The filing notes that ebook prices jumped 30 to 50 percent "virtually overnight" and that was only possible because of “the collusive efforts of Apple and five of the six largest publishers in the country," reports AFP.

However, Fortune notes that this is not correct. It has a graph demonstrating that the average price had been higher before the so-called “collusive agreement” was signed.

The DOJ does not support Apple’s request to modify the settlement, saying: “It is a naked attempt by Apple to have its competitors' ability to compete on price constrained - to take away the 'nearly unfettered ability to discount'", reports ArsTechnica.  

The DOJ claims: "Nothing in the proposed Final Judgment would force Apple or B&N to exercise discounting authority - they are free to carry out their own businesses exactly as before. What they may not do is continue to rely on a conspiracy to restrain their competitors."

"Even if there were evidence to substantiate claims of 'monopolization' or 'predatory pricing,' they would not be sufficient to justify self-help in the form of collusion," claims the DOJ.

Read the whole filing here.

DOJ: Steve Jobs should be heard in eBook case