Corporations & securities brief ~ Record labels sue Kazaa for copyright infringements

[JURIST] In Monday's corporations and securities news, several leading record labels, including EMI, Warner, Sony BMG and Universal, are suing Sharman Networks, the firm behind leading file-swapping software Kazaa in an Australian court. Sharman says it has no control over what users do with swapped files. BBC News has more.

In other news, the SEC is under intense pressure to reopen public debate over reforms of stock-trading rules after SEC officials privately revised the proposals. The reforms, known as Regulation NMS, which will have profound implications on the US stock markets were due to be voted by the SEC on December 15. Bear Stearns, the Wall Street securities firm, is calling on the SEC either to drop the change or reopen the comment period. The SEC has more information including public testimony on Regulation NMS here. Read the proposed rule here [PDF]. The Financial Times has more.... President Bush has tapped Kellogg's CEO Carlos Gutierrez to be the new Secretary of Commerce. If confirmed by the Senate, Gutierrez will replace current secretary Don Evans. Read a transcript of President Bush's comments here. AP has more.... Merck & Co. Inc. has announced it has adopted a severance benefits plan for key managers in the event the company is taken over. The plan would give 230 people a package including cash, health benefits, possible retirement benefits and help with financial planning. Read Merck's SEC filing detailing the plan here [PDF]. Reuters has more.... The SEC is expected to formally adopt rules which will force hedge funds, which for years have invested large sums of money away from the public eye, to disclose information about their firms, investments, and strategies. Under the new rule, hedge fund managers have until February 2006 to register themselves as investment advisers if they both manage more than $25 million and have 15 or more clients. Boston Business Journal has more.

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