By : Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 08 Mar 2010
A New York woman has filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit against Netflix and Warner Home Video alleging that the two companies’ recent distribution deal for DVD and Blu-ray Disc movie rentals constitutes a “scheme to restrain trade,” among other charges.
Plaintiff Susan Uman filed the suit March 3 in U.S. District Court for Southern New York in Manhattan, claiming the value of her monthly Netflix subscription suffered in value after the online DVD rental pioneer agreed to delay shipment of new-release and catalog titles from Warner by 28 days in exchange for better disc pricing and copy depth.
Warner and Netflix in January established the groundbreaking deal as a first step among studios looking to create a sellthrough window between the theatrical and rental distribution cycles of new release movies.
Uman, who cited as examples the Feb. 23 DVD releases of The Informant and The Box not being available to Netflix subscribers until March 23, is seeking a halt to the practice, according to the filing.
Indeed, when Netflix approached Warner about the revised distribution deal, it did so largely because the majority (70%) of its subscribers opt for catalog titles compared to new releases.
Representatives from Netflix and Warner Home Video were not immediately available for comment.