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House sends letter about merger

HOUSE MUSIC: On Tuesday, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet sent a letter to Universal, EMI and the Warner Music asking pointed questions about how the UMG-EMI merger would affect competition in the music industry, the N.Y. Times’ Ben Sisario reports. The House letter, signed by subcommittee chairman Robert Goodlatte (Rep., VA) and ranking minority member Melvin Watt (Dem., NC), takes a tack similar to one taken at the Senate subcommittee hearing in June, asking whether the music industry "has unique characteristics that may increase or reduce concerns" about the merger; how competition and innovation in digital music would be affected by the deal; and whether piracy and "powerful buyers, like Apple" would constrain Universal's added power. In a statement, Universal said: "We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions that the subcommittee may have. The global music market has been in decline for over a decade and it needs well invested music companies to continue to create and nurture artistic talent alongside a strong and growing independent sector if it is to thrive." (8/23a)

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