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The Verizon-Netflix Slow-Streaming War Heats Up

Verizon threatens lawsuit after Netflix blames VZ for slow speeds


The Netflix (NFLX) and Verizon (VZ) battle is getting nastier — with a war of words now entering the litigation arena.

Buffering NetflixVerizon has sent a cease and desist letter to the streaming entertainment company — demanding that they stop sending notices to customers that Verizon’s crowded network is to blame for slow download speeds.

“There is no basis to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon network,” wrote Verizon general counsel Randal Milch to Netflix’s chief lawyer, David Hyman. “Verizon demands that Netflix immediately cease and desist from providing any such further ‘notices’ to users of the Verizon network.”

Verizon said in the letter than Netflix must provide factual information for the claim within five days — or face the consequences.

“Failure to provide this information may lead us to pursue legal remedies,” Milch wrote.

“This is about people not getting what they paid for from their Internet service providers. Netflix is transparent, (Verizon) is shutting that down.” Tweeted Joris Evers, a Netflix spokesman, on Thursday.

The dust-up began when Netflix tweeted a response to a customer complaining about slow speeds.

Via USA Today:

The kerfuffle began with a tweet Tuesday evening from a Netflix customer, Yuri Victor. The user-experience designer had tried to stream a movie when Netflix flashed a message on the buffering screen: “The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting video for smoother playback.”

Victor tweeted the screen image to his followers, and Netflix soon confirmed that it had sent the message.

Verizon has since referred to the message as “a PR stunt” but social media response is clearly in Netflix’s camp.

The threat of a lawsuit may be Verizon’s way of stopping the bad PR, but it may just make things that much worse.

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