A judge has approved a class action settlement requiring Netflix Inc. to offer a free month of DVDs to 5.5 million current and former subscribers, resolving a case that prompted the online rental service to acknowledge it sometimes delays shipments to its less-profitable customers.

The settlement, released Monday after being approved last Friday, had been delayed since late March when San Francisco Superior Court Judge Thomas Mellon Jr. balked at a proposal that would have guaranteed payments totaling $2.5 million to a handful of lawyers.