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Sony movies are pulled from Netflix

June 17, 2011|Joe Flint | Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles — Netflix subscribers who are looking forward to watching "The Social Network" are out of luck.

The movie about the legal battle surrounding the origins of Facebook is a Sony Pictures film and was due to debut on Netflix this month. Because of a contractual issue, it and all other movies from the studio are no longer being made available on Netflix.

Netflix gets the rights to Sony movies not from the studio but from Starz, the pay television channel that is owned by Liberty Media. As part of its deal to carry Sony's products on its network, Starz also has streaming rights and signed a distribution contract for those rights with Netflix.

However, the contract Starz has with Sony has a subscriber cap with regard to Netflix. The home entertainment company now has more than 23.5 million subscribers, which exceeds the cap. Starz pulled the movies from Netflix so it wasn't in jeopardy of violating its deal with Sony.

In a statement, Starz said "all parties are working diligently to resolve the issue and return the films to Netflix members."

Netflix did not comment but posted a message on its website saying the movies were pulled because of a "a temporary contract issue between Sony and Starz."

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