×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Redbox Staffer Threatened With Prison Time for Buying ‘Coco’ DVDs

Disney is taking the gloves off in its battle with kiosk operator Redbox, working to make it significantly harder for Redbox to obtain DVDs of recent Disney releases.

According to an amended complaint filed on Tuesday by Redbox, Disney has recently retained Anderson Merchandisers, an in-store merchandising company, in its effort to limit Redbox purchases of Disney DVDs. Redbox alleges that a major big-box retailer has been instructed not to allow Redbox employees to buy more than five Disney DVDs. The retailer is not identified in the complaint, but Anderson has a close relationship with Walmart.

Redbox alleges that Anderson employees have followed its own staffers around in stores and taken photographs of them, and in one case threatened a Redbox staffer with prison time.

“On February 27, 2018, a Redbox employee was threatened multiple times with imprisonment in a federal prison for purchasing combo packs of ‘Coco,'” the complaint alleges. “Upon information and belief, the threats were made by a representative of Anderson or Disney.”

The legal battle arises from Redbox’s practice of buying up DVD combo packs, which include codes for a digital download. Redbox then separates the codes and sells them separately through its kiosks, at a steeply discounted price compared to the cost of a download from iTunes or Amazon. Disney filed suit last fall accusing Redbox of copyright infringement, while Redbox contends that its practice is perfectly legal and that Disney is seeking to starve a low-cost competitor of content.

“Disney is seeking to expand its role in the distribution market itself as a competitor to retailers like Redbox and Netflix, and, on information and belief, to eventually remove third-party retailers from the distribution chain altogether,” Redbox alleges. “Disney wants consumers to be inured to higher prices so that they will not object to them once Disney expands into that market.”

In February, a federal judge denied Disney’s request for an injunction to block Redbox from selling download codes. On Monday, Disney renewed its bid for an injunction, saying it had updated its terms and conditions in response to the judge’s ruling.

Redbox argues that the issue is broader than the digital codes, saying that Disney is seeking to block it from obtaining physical discs, which it unquestionably has the right to re-sell. Redbox’s suit alleges that Disney is abusing its dominant position in the market, and will only have more power over retailers once the Fox merger is completed.

“Disney is unlawfully using its market power to reduce output and prevent Redbox from meeting consumer demand for Disney titles,” Redbox states. “Only a company with substantial market power could dictate terms to major national big-box retailers that ultimately lead those retailers to sell fewer units.”

In response to the updated complaint, a Disney spokesman said, “Redbox continues to infringe our copyrights, and we have filed a renewed motion to stop its sale of our digital codes. While Redbox has filed a counterclaim to distract attention from its infringing conduct, we remain confident in our position and look forward to pursuing our claims in court.”

More Film

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

  • Lizzo Coachella Valley Music and Arts

    Lizzo Joins Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in Stripper Film 'Hustlers'

    After the release of her third album and a pair of high-profile Coachella performances, Lizzo announced today that she will be joining Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in the stripper-themed film “Hustlers.” Based on a true story, the film focuses on strippers who band together to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street male [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Marc Malkin The Big Ticket Podcast

    Variety, iHeartMedia Launch New Film Podcast 'The Big Ticket' With Marc Malkin

    Variety and iHeartMedia have announced the premiere of “The Big Ticket,” a new weekly film-focused podcast hosted by Marc Malkin, the magazine’s senior film awards and events & lifestyle editor. The podcast will feature sit-down interviews with Hollywood’s hottest stars and filmmakers talking movies, the business and more. New episodes will be released every Thursday [...]

  • 2019 Box Office Placeholder

    Can 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Lion King' and Other Summer Movies Rescue the Box Office?

    In the summer, as temperatures rise and schools go on break, Hollywood likes to stick to a well-worn formula: Pack the multiplexes with franchises, spinoffs, reboots and remakes. This coming season will be no different — with hopes that the pay off at the box office will help reverse the current turndown in ticket sales. [...]

  • Cameron Crowe, David Crosby in Park

    Cameron Crowe on Putting 'the Most Colorful Life Ever,' David Crosby's, on Screen

    Cameron Crowe jokes that David Crosby is following his career path. The star’s frankness and tell-it-like-it-is demeanor has resulted in Rolling Stone magazine’s invitation to set up the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s next act as a rock Dear Abby of sorts with his new column: “Ask Croz.” “Isn’t that great?” says Crowe, the Oscar-winning [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content