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Studio agreement won't stop local video store

I am the owner of Under One Roof Video in Plattsburgh and have been in business for over 17 years. This retail store is the last independent video rental store located in Plattsburgh. Many of my customers are looking forward to the DVD release of the movie Sicko. Well, I would like to let my customers and Andy know a little something about this DVD release. The movie studio, which is distributing this DVD, is The Weinstein Company. On January 1, 2007, Blockbuster reached a four-year deal giving it exclusive U.S. rental rights to Weinstein films. According to the deal, Blockbuster now has exclusive rental rights over all Weinstein theatrical releases and direct-to-video films. Great for them as the two companies will share rental revenues for Weinstein Co. titles! If I were a large chain of independent video stores, I would have the clout to boycott Weinsteins films. But, its just me and my dedicated employees and dedicated customers out here so thats not a possibility. Because my DVD distributor cannot distribute these films to me under this agreement, I have to buy them at full retail price to satisfy customer demand. And that is what I do. Week after week after week. It gets a bit tiring. Its also costly and unjust and anti-competitive but, hey, a deals a deal, right? Weinstein was also going to implement a plan to include a 1-800 number label on any Blockbuster exclusive titles released to retailers that would ask anyone renting the title from a retailer other than Blockbuster to report it to the company. Nope. Didnt happen. An independent retail buying group by the name of National Entertainment Buying Group approached a Massachusetts federal court and the court battle temporarily halted Weinsteins 1-800 number plan, pending a case brought forward by the buying group against Weinstein. I was heartbroken to hear this news. Not. It made my day. This group has the clout I dont have. The NEBG represents about 300 independent video retailers across the U.S. They state, in filing the suit, that Weinsteins planned labeling of the 1-800 number, is ...implying illegal activity [which] defames and damages the businesses of other retailers and will cause the financial loss and irreparable harm. No kidding. Duh. The claim goes even further. It cites Weinstein on five counts: unfair competition, unfair or deceptive acts and practices, untrue and misleading advertisements, negligent misrepresentation and tortuous interference with advantageous business relations. Now that got me psyched! Long story short? The lawsuit was dismissed. It was dropped after the judge said Weinstein had not actually distributed titles with such language, the 1-800 lingo, so the complaint had no practical value. The President of NEBG, Todd Zaganiacz, said, It is still a little mystifying to me, but obviously boils down to the dollars Blockbuster had committed to paying TWC (The Weinstein Company). There is no question about it. So, on Tuesday, Nov. 6, Ill be out and about, searching local retail chain stores for copies of Sicko to put on my shelves for my dedicated customers. And the title will be there. I promise. Becky Leonard, Owner
Under One Roof Video
Plattsburgh (Editors note: Sicko is a documentary about the health care industry by filmmaker Michael Moore.)

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