Amazon.com Inc. and aggrieved consumers who purchased digital content from the company including television shows, music, and movies, have agreed to move the case and a similar one to Seattle, Washington for further proceedings. The case was transferred on Wednesday after the parties stipulated that moving the Southern District of New York suit and the Eastern District of California companion case would aid resolution.
The November 2021 complaint alleges that Amazon overcharges for video content it purports to sell, even though it in fact only licenses the content for viewers to watch. Such a licensing arrangement means that, unlike in a true sale, Amazon can never pass title of any licensed content it purportedly claims to be selling to consumers via its website’s “buy” button.
Accordingly, if an Amazon licensing agreement ends, for whatever reason, the defendant is required to pull the digital content from the consumers’ video or music library, “which it does without prior warning, and without providing any type of refund or remuneration to consumers.”
The lawsuit claims that Amazon not only mislabels the usage of digital content as sales rather than licenses, but also overcharges for those sales. Should Amazon deem the transaction “what it really is, some type of sublicensing arrangement, it could not charge nearly as much,” the filing says, pointing to Amazon’s digital media sales of over $197 billion in 2020.
According to the docket, Amazon has not yet answered the complaint. The stipulation adds that the same plaintiffs’ counsel, Reese LLP and Sheehan & Associates P.C., has been retained in both actions and that the parties will meet and confer regarding the potential consolidation of those actions expediently.
Amazon is represented by Perkins Coie LLP.