It seems that the lawsuit Disney filed against Redbox to prevent them from buying its discs for rental and resale may have just backfired. A new report from The Hollywood Reporter described how District Court Judge Dean Pregerson decided to side with Redbox and shoot down any mandate that Disney had in works. In addition to siding with Redbox, Pregerson stated that Disney may itself be misusing copyright law to protect its interests and the streaming service it’s planning.
So what exactly happened between Disney and Redbox? Well, Redbox didn’t have a deal in place with Disney to procure Disney DVDs and Blu-rays for its rental kiosk business. Redbox basically bought the discs at retail, often buying combo packs that include a DVD, Blu-ray and a digital download code for the movie. After purchasing, Redbox would offer the discs for rental, and then sell the codes it got in the packages for anywhere between $8 and $15.
This, of course, outraged Disney because it includes language on its packaging and website demanding that users must own the disc if they download a copy. Interestingly, this is where Judge Pregerson comes in and began to disagree, saying that Disney cannot dictate what people do with copyrighted media after they have purchased it. Specifically speaking, there is no law, or explicit contract terms, that would prevent people from doing what Redbox is doing with Disney discs. This doesn’t mean that Disney can’t reword information on the packaging for future products and releases.
As the battle continues between Redbox and Disney, the next heading is set to take place on March 5th, where Redbox’s motion to dismiss the suit from Disney will be considered. Mind you, Disney has very deep pockets and will likely continue to battle until it finds a solution it can work with instead of just straight defeat.