Disney Goes Rabid Over Redbox Selling Digital Movie Codes, Scores Bill Nye Win

Disney; Redbox

Coming off a win of sorts against Bill Nye the Science Guy in another lawsuit, Disney is now making a full-court press to erase Redbox’s efforts to digitally sell its movies.

“Redbox recently began illegally selling Plaintiffs’ digital movie codes to Redbox customers in blatant disregard of clear prohibitions against doing so and in violation of Plaintiffs’ copyrights,” states a five-claim complaint (read it here) made Thursday in California federal court by the studio as well as its Marvel, Lucasfilm and Buena Vista units.

Seeking injunctions and various damages starting at $150,000 per statutory award, the Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP-represented Disney cites a slew of tentpole titles including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Frozen and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as being included in the unbundlable “Combo Packs” that Redbox offers customers.

“Plaintiffs have lost and will continue to lose sales as a direct result of Redbox’s unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent conduct,” Disney says in the jury trial-seeking suit alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract.

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“Their actions violate our contracts and copyrights, and we have filed this action to stop Redbox’s unauthorized conduct,” a spokesman from the Bob Iger-run company said Friday. This of course comes as Disney ramp up plans to get its own streaming service going in the next year with Star Wars and Marvel pics among the baubles.

“While we don’t comment on pending litigation, we feel very confident in our pro-consumer position,”said the DVD kiosk company today of Disney’s filing

This latest Disney legal move came on the same day that the House of Mouse had a roller-coaster of a hearing in the $28 million (and potentially more) fraud suit it faces from Bill Nye. In a complaint first filed in late August, the beloved Science Guy asserts that Disney, Buena Vista and more studio subsidiaries deprived him of big bucks that he should have received in profit participation from his long-running TV series.

On Thursday in a LA Superior Court gathering, Judge Dalila Lyon first issued a tentative ruling rejecting a demurrer by the studio and allowing Nye to progress with his case after few trims. That script was flipped when Disney’s Mitchell Silberberg & Knupps LLP lawyer convinced Lyon that Nye had offered little solid in his initial suit that his deal with Buena Vista was actually a pivotal joint venture. It now means Nye and his Hamrick & Evans LLP attorneys have until December 28 to amend his complaint if he wants the case to move forward.

After the downtown gathering, Buena Vista said in a statement that they were “pleased the court ruled in our favor. As we’ve said, this lawsuit is a publicity ploy, and we will continue to vigorously defend against it.”

Doesn’t take much of an equation to bet that they will.

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