Universal Music-EMI merger hearing Thursday #thecircuit

Universal-EMI: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Thursday examining the proposed merger between Universal and EMI to discuss whether or not the deal would violate antitrust law.

Critics of the deal such as Public Knowledge say that it could lead to higher prices for digital music and for CDs.

On Tuesday, the European Commission provided Universal Music with an antitrust complaint, Bloomberg reported, saying that the deal would produce a company “almost twice the size of the next largest player.”

In a statement, Universal Music said, “Universal Music’s acquisition of EMI will create even more opportunities for new and established artists, expand the marketplace with more music and support new digital services.”

Verizon, SpectrumCo hearing follow-up: Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have sent another letter asking Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) to hold a hearing on the proposed deal between Verizon and Spectrum Co.

Eshoo and Waxman had previously sent a letter in April asking for a hearing on the proposed deal, saying that it had “potential implications for competition in the wireless industry.”

Internet regulation: The House Energy and Commerce committee passed a bipartisan resolution Wednesday that “expresses the sense of Congress that the Internet should remain free from international regulation.” The resolution, introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), was drafted in response to a proposal that would place Internet regulation under the jurisdiction of a section of the United Nations.

ADA applies to Web sites, too: The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to Web site-only businesses, finding that Netflix violates the act by not providing captions on all of its “Watch Instantly” programming.

The case was brought by the National Association for the Deaf. Netflix had argued that the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) exempted video programming streamed on the Internet from the Act, but Judge Michael Ponsor said he did not see a conflict between the two statutes.

Facebook payments: Facebook has changed the way it handles payments on its site, backing away from the Credits system and instead announcing that it will support pricing in local currency.

Facebook users will also be allowed to subscribe to apps — much in the way Apple users can subscribe to magazine apps — that ask for monthly payments.

“By supporting pricing in local currency, we hope to simplify the purchase experience, give you more flexibility, and make it easier to reach a global audience of Facebook users who want a way to pay for your apps and games in their local currency,” Facebook told app developers in a company blog post.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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