the world digest


EC sets ruling date

BRUSSELS — The European Commission on Monday set Dec. 8 as its deadline for ruling on whether Universal Music Group can buy BMG Music Publishing. The EC promised a speedy merger investigation of the two publishing giants, who would become the world's biggest song rights company if the deal is cleared. Universal's €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) plan to buy BMG Music Publishing will face particular scrutiny as it comes just four months after a European Union court overturned the EC's 2004 decision to clear a merger between Sony and Bertelsmann's music units.

'Royale' treatment

NEW DELHI — "Casino Royale" will become the first Hollywood film to open on more than 500 screens when it bows here Nov. 17 as part of its worldwide day-and-date release. "James Bond has a huge equity in this country and his films have always been a hit here," Sony Pictures Releasing India managing director Uday Singh said Monday in a statement. The next-largest Hollywood release in India was "Spider-Man 2," which went out with 304 prints. "Casino Royale" will be dubbed in Hindi and such regional South Indian languages as Tamil and Telegu.

James to lead AFCI

SYDNEY — Robin James, head of Queensland state film agency the Pacific Film and Television Commission, has been appointed president of the U.S.-based Association of Film Commissioners International. James is the first non–American to take the position. He succeeds retiring president Pat Kaufman. The AFCI is the official professional organization for film commissioners who assist film, television and video production globally. The group has members in 42 countries with more than 300 AFCI member film commissions worldwide.