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Redbox Rebukes Universal’s Attempt to Dismiss Suit

5 Mar, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

Redbox responded March 5 to Universal’s motion to dismiss the DVD rental kiosk operator’s lawsuit against the studio, and did so in harsh terms.

“Making unwarranted attacks on opposing counsel or stating snappy one-liners is not a substitute for legal reasoning. Such tactics do not allow Universal to avoid the effect of [Redbox’s] well-pled allegations,” Redbox’s court-filed response reads. “Universal's motion to dismiss must be denied. No amount of name calling by Universal can, or should, change that result.”

In amendments to its motion to dismiss, Universal lawyers call Redbox a “jilted distributor” and accuses Redbox of wanting “to continue carrying Universal’s DVDs in its kiosks on its, not Universal’s, terms.”

Redbox first filed suit against the studio in October, saying new revenue sharing terms put forth by Universal violated anti-trust laws and misused copyrights. The terms would have eliminated the studio’s contracts with Video Product Distributors and Ingram Entertainment — Redbox’s two suppliers of DVDs from Universal Studios Home Entertainment — if they continued supplying Redbox with USHE product. Redbox believes that is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and has since stocked its kiosks with USHE DVDs from other sources.

“Universal seeks to expand its limited copyright monopoly to secure other monopoly rights not granted by the Copyright Act, including the right to control the terms of retail rental and resale after the first sale by Universal; Universal's actions to prevent distributors and retailers from selling new-release DVDs to Redbox violates public policy; and Universal seeks to expand its limited copyright monopoly to take control of retail DVD rental and resale to consumers and to drive competition from the retail new-release DVD rental and resale market,” Redbox argues in its latest motion.

The judge in the case has directed Redbox and Universal to discuss a possible settlement in the case March 11.

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