The Department of Justice said Thursday that it has dropped an investigation into Movielink, an online film-rental service that raised questions of industry collusion three years ago when it was founded by five Hollywood movie studios. The DOJ's Antitrust Division said that it ended the inquiry after reaching the conclusion that the joint venture had not harmed competition or deprived consumers of movies. In part, the DOJ was responding to charges from rival video-on-demand services, including now-defunct Intertainer, that the studios colluded to limit licensing of their films to third-party operators.
"The division considered several theories of competitive harm but ultimately determined that the evidence does not support a conclusion that the structure of the joint venture increased prices or otherwise reduced competition in the retail markets in which Movielink competes," reads a statement from the DOJ. "The division will continue to monitor activity in these emerging markets as part of its ongoing enforcement of the antitrust laws."