4 December 2017Copyright

Disney tackles DVD kiosk company over illegal film codes

Disney is not happy with Redbox—as the multinational believes the DVD kiosk company has been illegally selling Disney’s digital film codes to customers.

The alleged sale is in “blatant disregard of clear prohibitions against doing so” and in violation of Disney’s copyright, according to a lawsuit.

Disney, along with subsidiaries Marvel and Lucasfilm, sued Redbox at the US District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division on Thursday, November 30.

The media company sells codes as part of combination packages that also include a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. Disney said that the outside packaging is clearly marked “Codes are not for sale or transfer”.

US-based Redbox allegedly buys and disassembles this product package, then rents the disks through its kiosks and sells the codes separately.

“In addition, Redbox sells the codes with the intent that its customers download or otherwise access the motion pictures to which the codes provide access, with full knowledge that doing so violates the terms and conditions of plaintiff’s copyright licences governing that access,” said the claim.

Redbox was accused of selling codes for numerous films, including “Frozen”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, and “Iron Man 3”.

The claim added that Redbox markets the codes as “cheap”, a “smart buy” and a “low-price alternative to authorised digital services”.

Disney added: “Redbox does so to attract customers who would otherwise purchase a combo pack or licensed digital offering through an authorised distributor.”

According to Disney, Redbox’s conduct will harm Disney’s relationships with its authorised distributors and retailers, and undermine its relationships with customers.

Disney claimed that Redbox is contributorily liable for copyright infringement because it knows its customers will be reproducing the works without authorisation when they use the codes to download copies of the films.

Redbox also “induces, encourages, or materially contributes” to the violation of Disney’s rights through its unlawful resale, the complaint added.

Disney is seeking injunctive relief, punitive damages and profits, and a jury trial.

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