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Merrill Lynch Tired Of Research Rip-Offs, To Curb Distribution

Merrill Lynch is fed up with the rip-off of its research reports, and will take steps to limit access to its research content.

The world's largest brokerage told clients in a note on Thursday it is taking aggressive steps to curb distribution of its research, including restricting and delaying media access and establishing licensing agreements.

U.S. brokerage research has already come under pressure as a profit center in recent years after regulators pushed for further separation between analysts and investment bankers.

In the note, Merrill Lynch's global research chief, Candace Browning, complained that research opinions provided by the brokerage for its clients can appear verbatim in other outlets within 60 seconds.

"Much like the music and film industries before us, Merrill Lynch Research is in the throes of being Napsterized," she said. "I also realized that like every other content provider - from the Walt Disney Company to obscure news outlets - Merrill Lynch research needed to regain control of our distribution channels in order to preserve and protect our hard-earned intellectual capital for you," she said.