Copyrights prevent some Netflix customers from streaming

Glenn W. Peterson

For years, Netflix has built up its reputation as a purveyor of streaming entertainment. While most of its customers in California and around the country consume its content online, Netflix still has ties to its roots as a DVD-by-mail company, and some 2.7 million customers around the country still consume its media that way to this day.

There are many different reasons for people to stick to this seemingly outdated mode of media consumption, including a lack of selection, poor or inconsistent broadband internet access and overpriced or unavailable streaming offerings. However, one of the most significant reasons for maintaining DVD-by-mail service from Netflix relates to copyright law.

Many different media companies are planning to launch their own streaming services, if they have not already. For this reason, many are jealously guarding their own content and denying requests to allow other streaming services to carry it. Disney, which plans to launch its own streaming service sometime this year, is a good example. Even the companies that are allowing services like Netflix to carry their content will only do so in exchange for hefty fees. An example would be WarnerMedia, which allows Netflix to carry episodes of the sitcom “Friends” for a price of $100 million.

Even when other media companies do allow Netflix to carry its content, the library of streaming films is relatively sparse compared to the catalog of television shows. Because TV is currently Netflix’s biggest draw, that is where it is devoting most of its resources.

Copyright law is complex, with many potential unforeseen consequences. Those involved in a legal action regarding copyright law may find it helpful to consult an attorney.