A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Dec 7, 2017

Disney Sues Redbox To Stop Digital Movies Sales As It Faces Off vs Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix

This is about control of content and access to it. As Disney negotiates to acquire Newscorp's Fox assets it is also becoming more selective about which companies it will partner.

The issue is positioning in the face of moves by Google, Amazon and Facebook to dominate media and entertainment. Disney sees itself as perhaps the only surviving legacy media competitor in that universe and will do whatever it has to in order to assure its survival. JL


Ben Fritz reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Walt Disney Co. sued Redbox to stop the DVD rental company from selling digital copies of its movies. Redbox last month began offering consumers codes to download a digital copy of a Disney movie. Redbox is only offering digital copies of Disney movies because it doesn’t have a distribution arrangement with the studio and buys retail copies of its discs to rent. Disney sued Redbox for copyright infringement.
Walt Disney Co. sued Redbox in an attempt to stop the DVD rental company from selling digital copies of its movies.
Privately held Redbox last month began offering consumers codes they can use to download a digital copy of a Disney movie.
Redbox charges between $7.99 and $14.99 for slips of paper with the codes to download Disney films such as “Cars 3” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” That is less than those movies cost to buy and download from Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store.
Customers pick up the codes in the kiosks in locations such as grocery and convenience stores where Redbox also offers DVD rentals.
Disney is seeking an injunction to stop Redbox from selling the digital codes, as well as its profits from the sales or damages of up to $150,000 per copyright infringement.
Redbox is only offering digital copies of Disney movies because it doesn’t have a distribution arrangement with the studio and buys retail copies of its discs to rent to customers. Those retail DVDs come with digital download codes.
Redbox receives special copies of DVDs and Blu-ray discs from other studios with which it has deals that don’t contain digital codes.
Disney sued Redbox in federal district court in California for copyright infringement, among other claims. It said in the complaint that Redbox is selling the digital codes “in blatant disregard of clear prohibitions against doing so and in violation of plaintiffs’ copyrights.”
It pointed to fine print on its DVD boxes that states, “codes are not for sale or transfer.”
A Redbox spokeswoman said the company feels “very confident in our pro-consumer position.”

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