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Redbox Ruling Not What Most Expected

18 Aug, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Well, the verdict is in, and it's not quite what everyone expected. Given our legal system's history of siding with intellectual property owners, studio executives were hoping a federal judge would quickly dismiss an antitrust lawsuit filed by Redbox against Universal Studios Home Entertainment over the studio's decision to impose a 45-day window on new releases. Similar windows subsequently have been imposed by 20th Century Fox (30 days) and Warner Bros. (28 days), and Redbox has already filed a similiar suit against Fox, with a third action likely against Warner. The Universal suit hasn't seen any action since last March, but today's ruling--and you can read the full story by clicking here--came as something of a surprise, since studio executives have privately said they believe a ruling in Universal's favor was imminent. Not that this is a defeat for Hollywood's attempts to maintain control over its own product, since the actual suit has yet to be heard, but it's certainly a setback.

Here's the press release that just came in from Redbox, which also directs reporters to a new site the kiosk company has launched in an attempt to get the public all riled up over the studios' attempts to crack down on dollar rentals. Studios believe the low price and ready availability of video-rental kiosks in such places as Wal-Mart stores is cannibalizing the sales business, while Redbox chief Mitch Lowe--a former independent retailer and Netflix pioneer--argues that his company is merely giving consumer what they want in these trying economic times.

For Immediate Release:  August 17, 2009
Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. – The United States District Court for the District of Delaware announced today that it has denied Universal Studio Home Entertainment’s motion to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit filed by redbox.
The Federal Court’s decision marks an important step forward in our effort to protect consumers’ right to convenient, affordable access to new release DVDs at redbox locations nationwide,” said Mitch Lowe, president, redbox.  “We appreciate the Court’s thoughtful review of this issue and look forward to pursuing our claim and protecting our consumers’ rights.” 
A copy of the decision can be found at www.savelowcostdvds.com, a site dedicated to educating the public on redbox’s effort to protect consumers’ rights against studio action.  


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