Redbox can pursue antitrust claims against Universal

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Redbox can pursue antitrust claims against Universal

Tue Aug 18, 2009 @ 10:36AM PST

By Eriq Gardner


6a00d83451d69069e20120a529d163970c A federal judge in Delaware has allowed Redbox to pursue antitrust claims against Universal Studios Home Entertainment for limiting the ways that distributors can give the studio's DVDs to Redbox for low-cost rentals.

Judge Robert Kugler denied Universal's motion to dismiss the antitrust allegations but agreed to throw out claims of tortious interference and copyright misuse. Here's the court's colorful opinion, notable as much for the way that Judge Kugler goes to extreme lengths to pun as many movie titles as he can into his opening. We count 16 movie titles in the first section, including statements like, "Redbox maintains that Universal has otherwise failed to 'Do the Right Thing' in seeking to prevent Redbox from buying new release Universal DVDs from other wholesalers and retailers..."

Apparently, Redbox has scored a judge that enjoys movies, which may not be such a bad thing. Redbox has become a litigation magnet in recent weeks. The upstart service is not only suing Universal but also recently filed a similar case against 20th Century Fox after the studio ordered its own wholesalers to hold back product from Redbox. The rental kiosk company has shown no fear of going up against the major studios in court, and now it gets to pursue antitrust allegations in a Delaware jurisdiction that may be more hospitable to those types of claims.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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