A federal judge has dismissed all charges in the antitrust case brought by three independent video rental businesses against Blockbuster Video and several major Hollywood studios. The defendants were charged with price discrimination and conspiracy to prevent independent stores from gaining access to the same revenue-sharing deals available to Blockbuster.
In a move that surprised attorneys on both sides, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence of conspiracy and a link between discriminatory revenue-sharing deals and the demise of the independent stores.
Two studios, Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., had already reached a $15 million settlement with the plaintiffs.
Since the lawsuit was initiated three years ago, less expensive DVDs have displaced VHS and given independents access to more equitable pricing.