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Warner Also Seeks Redbox Lawsuit Dismissal

2 Oct, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Warner Home Video has joined 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in seeking dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by movie rental kiosk operator Redbox.

Warner, like Fox, filed a legal brief late Oct. 1 in U.S. District Court in Delaware (which reportedly accepts filings until midnight) and didn’t disclose the filing until Oct. 2.

Redbox, which is owned by Coinstar Inc., filed separate litigation against Fox, Warner Home Video and Universal Studios Home Entertainment after the studios separately mandated shipment delays from 28 to 45 days after street date for new releases.

Warner Home Video, in the 40-page brief, said Redbox’s allegations against the studio were incorrect and could not be duplicated from the Universal suit since Warner continues to supply kiosk vendors with new-release content until Oct. 27.

“Redbox’s claims are wholly based on speculative future events, because Warner’s [new] wholesale policy won’t take effect until until Oct. 27 when The Orphan is released,” lawyers for Warner wrote in the filing.

The filing said Redbox’s “non-existent” antitrust claim is merely a negotiating ploy against the studio.

“This is precisely the type of routine business dispute, motivated solely by a merchant’s attempt to protect it profits rather than to protect competition, that the antitrust laws are not meant to address,” said the filing.

The studio also said Redbox’s ability to acquire Warner titles would not be impeded, only its access to wholesale channels.

Indeed, Warner argued that Redbox’s business has thrived since its suit against Universal, underscored by lucrative distribution deals with Paramount Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Lionsgate.

Universal sought dismissal of a similar suit last December, and in August a judge removed portions of Redbox’s claims while allowing the antitrust allegations.

Redbox president Mitch Lowe, who issued a statement in support of the company’s litigation against Fox, was not immediately available for comment regarding Warner’s filing.

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