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AOL, Time Warner Claim "Pinkie Swear" Does Not Provide Full Confidentiality
Walt Disney, the company not the cryogenically frozen animation pioneer, has asked to see confidential documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission by Time Warner and America Online, which promise the companies will not discriminate against competitors after they merge.

According to Reuters, Disney's request was revealed Tuesday (8/22). The company says it is not seeking any information that would somehow help it gain an edge against AOL or Time Warner.

The documents in question discuss the business possibilities of the Internet service provider and the cable company. The headers of the documents appear to address issues about content and distribution and could have an impact on competing companies that provide programming to cable subscribers.

The FCC is currently examining whether the transfer of Time Warner's broadcast licenses to AOL is in the public interest. Time Warner and AOL have vowed the merged company would not discriminate against any competing content provider, and if they did, the company would lose customers to others that provide open access to content.

Disney, whose ABC Network was pulled from many Time Warner-owned cable systems after a payment dispute in May, wants to halt the merger, or at least impose strict conditions on the combination. A Disney spokesperson says they are concerned the AOL Time Warner promises are not binding, and there should be a way to prove the new company is not giving its partners an advantage for competing content. Disney proposed the FCC force AOL and Time Warner separate its distribution operations from programming and content development after combining.

Time Warner spokesman Ed Adler, who mentioned nothing about the Emmy he won for his portrayal of Lou Grant, said: "If they look at the documents, they would find this merger, as we have been saying, will provide tremendous benefits to consumers. There's an order in place that allows participants in the proceeding to look at the designated documents, and that's what we will abide by."