×

Verizon Sends Netflix Cease-and-Desist Letter Over On-Screen Warnings

Verizon fired off a cease-and-desist letter to Netflix on Thursday after the streaming service started posting warnings blaming the Internet provider when subscribers experience low-quality video.

In Verizon’s letter, its executive vice president Randal Milch writes that “there is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon network.”

Netflix’s error message, as identified by Vox Media’s Yuri Victor on Wednesday, reads, “The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting video for smoother playback.”

SEE ALSO: Netflix Now Tells Users When Their ISPs Are Slow in Web Browser Messages

The messages stem from an escalating dispute over how Netflix content is connected to a subscriber’s Internet provider — what are called “interconnection” agreements. Netflix contends that it has been forced to deal directly with Comcast and with Verizon to ensure that their systems are not congested and subscribers don’t get degraded signals. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has objected to “big ISPs extracting a toll [for the interconnection] because they can.”

But Comcast has said that it was Netflix that chose to enter an agreement, announced in February, rather than go through a third-party service. Netflix reached an interconnection agreement with Verizon in April.

In a blog post, Verizon’s David Young called Netflix’s error message a “P.R. stunt” and added, “The source of the problem is almost certainly NOT congestion in Verizon’s network. Instead, the problem is most likely congestion on the connection that Netflix has chosen to use to reach Verizon’s network.”

In the cease-and-desist letter, Verizon’s Milch writes that “Netflix’s false accusations have the potential to harm the Verizon brand in the marketplace,” giving customers the impression that their network is “generally ‘crowded’ and troublesome.”

A spokesman for Netflix said that “this is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider. We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion.”

In March, Hastings suggested that big Internet providers were charging interconnection fees even though customers have already paid for service. “When an ISP sells a consumer a 10 or 50 megabits-per-second Internet package, the consumer should get that rate, no matter where the data is coming from,” he wrote.

More Biz

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Nickelodeon Alum Keith Dawkins Sets Kidvid Partnership With Believe Media Group

    Former Nickelodeon executive Keith Dawkins has partnered with Believe Media Group to develop children’s programming. Dawkins will partner with Believe under his newly formed Rock Hill Media Ventures, which aims to advise companies in media, entertainment and sports on working with diverse and emerging talent. Dawkins previously spent 17 years at Viacom, most of which [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The

    CAA's Packaging Fee Becomes Flashpoint in 'Walking Dead' Litigation

    The issue that is at the heart of the WGA’s present standoff with talent agencies has flared up as a source of tension in the litigation between AMC Networks and Frank Darabont and CAA over profit participation on “The Walking Dead.” The practice of talent agencies receiving packaging fees for helping to assemble the creative [...]

  • Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’

    Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’ Data, Royalty Payments to Artists

    Sony Music today announced two new payment features for its artists — “Real Time Royalties” and “Cash Out” — through its artist portal beginning this fall. 

A memo sent to artists Monday morning and obtained by Variety says  the initiatives will “allow our artists and royalty participants to view and withdraw earnings faster than ever [...]

  • Whitney Houston

    Whitney Houston Estate Plans Hologram Tour, Album, Musical

    In the seven years since Whitney Houston’s death, there has been relatively little of the asset-exploitation that usually follows the passing of a music icon, apart from a smattering of previously unreleased recordings, a pair of harrowing documentaries and a lot of unflattering press. But according to an article in the New York Times, the [...]

  • rocketman-elton-john-costume

    Elton John Biopic 'Rocketman' Taps Lucky Brand Collaboration as Part of Promo Push

    Paramount has set a May 28 release date for its Elton John-inspired clothing collection with retailer Lucky Brand, which celebrates the performer’s iconic style and new biopic, “Rocketman” (see tickets and showtimes here). The limited-edition collaboration arrives in stores three days before the film hits theaters, though it’s available for purchase right now on LuckyBrand.com. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content