×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale

    Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale Date

    UPDATED: The troubled Woodstock 50 festival has run into more difficulties, as multiple sources told Variety late Friday that the April 22 on-sale date for the event has been postponed. Agents for artists scheduled to perform at the festival — which include Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Halsey [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Nicki MinajCFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner,

    Nicki Minaj Parts Ways With Longtime Managers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nicki Minaj has parted ways with Gee Roberson and Cortez Bryant and Blueprint/ Maverick Management, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. She had worked with the pair for the majority of her career. The source says the decision was mutual and amicable, and there was no specific reason for the split, adding [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (for Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content