Law Office of Henry B. LaTorraca Civil Trial Attorney

Disney sues Redbox over digital download dispute

People in California often turn to Redbox kiosks for fast, convenient movie and game rentals. These kiosks are found everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations, and they offer on-site rentals and returns through automation. However, a dispute with Disney may cause the company some problems.

Disney has filed suit against Redbox claiming that the rental service is doing more than just renting out Disney's movies. The issue that Disney has raised pertains to its combo packs and their included digital download codes. Each combo pack includes a DVD copy, Blu-Ray copy and digital download code, allowing the purchaser a number of options to view the combo pack's content.

Disney has claimed that Redbox is removing the digital download code from each combo pack and then is selling the code separately. Disney is asserting that Redbox is in violation of Disney's intellectual property rights since the download code is meant to be redeemed only by the entity that purchased the combo pack.

One of the questions at the heart of the matter is ownership, and furthermore, the right to sell or share purchased content. This could possibly bring up the First Sale Doctrine, which allows the purchaser of content to sell or give away the original purchased copy.

The internet has made it easier than ever to share intellectual property, but if someone doesn't understand intellectual property law, issues as to ownership and usage could arise. As a result, anyone who deals with digital content sharing, especially producers of digital content, may find it beneficial to work with an intellectual property attorney to ensure all actions are legal. An intellectual property attorney can provide guidance in the case of a dispute.

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