UMG Has 'Short Extension' To EU iTunes Deadline
June 20, 2007 at 5:45 AM (PT)
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP said it has received a "short extension" to a midnight deadline today to respond to the EUROPEAN COMMISSION's antitrust concerns over the pricing of songs on APPLE INC.'s ITUNES online music store, reports FORBES. A spokesman said the group had "requested, and been granted, a short extension to the deadline," without giving further details. The commission was unavailable for comment.
In APRIL, the EU executive sent a statement of objections listing the charges to APPLE and unnamed "major record companies," giving all parties two months to reply. At the start of this month, the commission extended a deadline for APPLE and the record companies to respond to concerns to JUNE 20 after an original deadline expired.
The commission said one record company responded before the first deadline, set for midnight on JUNE 4. A report in the FINANCIAL TIMES in early APRIL claimed the companies who were contacted regarding the antitrust concerns were EMI GROUP, WARNER MUSIC GROUP, SONY/BMG and VIVENDI SA's UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP.
The commission's main concern is that ITUNES' set-up in the EUROPEAN market prohibits users in one country from downloading music from a website intended to serve another. Customers are then affected by the pricing differences between the eurozone and elsewhere. The commission is concerned pricing agreements were imposed on APPLE by music companies and music rights agencies that work nationally and give APPLE little choice but to offer to national stores.