"The EC has simply repeated the economic, political and cultural errors it made before."
—-Patrick Zelnik, Impala Co-President


Euro Indie Music Companies Launch Another Appeal With EC, as Bertie Tries to Sell Its Half to Sony
This is getting silly.

With Bertelsmann trying to unload their half of Sony BMG to their partners for a reported $1 billion price tag, European independent music trade association Impala has filed yet another appeal with the European Commission challenging their clearance of the merger.

The Brussels-based organization said today it had lodged an appeal last Friday with the EC's Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, in which it challenges the EC's unconditional authorization of the recorded music joint-venture.

Impala claims the Commission made a "whole series of errors of law, assessment and reasoning in relation to collective dominance in the recorded music market" when it ushered through clearance for the merger last year for a second time.

"The EC has simply repeated the economic, political and cultural errors it made before," comments Patrick Zelnik, president of Naïve and co-president of Impala, in a statement issued today. "These need to be corrected."

Impala co-president Horst Weidenmueller agreed: "A merger such as this with no remedies has repercussions for thousands of artists and small businesses across Europe. Impala's primary issue is the dysfunction of the music market. Online is the key example here and the EC should look more closely at how the majors are controlling the roll-out of this market."

The European Union's executive arm first cleared the merger in 2004. But that decision was annulled by a European court ruling in July 2006 after a challenge was launched by Impala, representing more than 4,000 independent companies. The court then ordered the Commission to conduct a new investigation into the pairing.

Sony and Bertelsmann then launched their own appeal and re-submitted their merger to the Commission, which once again cleared it last October.

Impala then lodged a formal complaint with the European Ombudsman into why the deal had been approved again without remedies.

European court judges are expected to deliver their verdict on July 10 on Sony and Bertelsmann’s appeal of the July 2006 judgment.