The scene: Disney and its spouse (also Disney) have just finished a hard evening’s grocery shopping. Cart piled high with all the things a growing-but-massive entertainment conglomerate needs, the pair stop at the store’s exit, right next to a distinctive bright red kiosk. Disney turns to its partner:“Honey, should we pick up a Redbox lawsuit tonight?” “Oh, yeah, that sounds like fun!”
Variety reports this week that Disney is indeed suing Redbox, the company that taught us all that the entire corporate infrastructure that once supported Blockbuster stores nationwide can now be replicated by a credit card swiper and a DVD delivery person. The cartoon mouse company isn’t mad about the company’s physical offerings, though; rather, it’s pissed that Redbox has begun selling digital codes for the company’s movies to its bevy of harried consumers.
Disney—which has been a big leader in the push to encourage consumers to build libraries of digital films, mostly by including download codes in most of their DVD and Blu-Ray releases—is unamused by the rental company’s attempts to horn in on its profits. “Redbox is selling our digital movie codes in blatant disregard of clear prohibitions against doing so. Their actions violate our contracts and copyrights, and we have filed this action to stop Redbox’s unauthorized conduct,” the company said in a statement.
Redbox apparently gets the download vouchers the same way the rest of us do: By buying Disney DVD combos on the open market and grabbing the codes inside. (The company hasn’t had a direct deal to get discs from Disney in more than five years.) Despite the apparent shadiness of this code reselling—which Redbox added to its roster of offerings back in October—the company seems confident that it’ll be able to get the entertainment mega-giant to back off. “While we don’t comment on pending litigation, we feel very confident in our pro-consumer position,” a Redbox spokesperson said earlier this week.