Those in Kansas and Missouri who own copyrights may want to pay close attention to a current dispute between The Walt Disney Co. and a movie rental company. The classic family feature film giant is upset about certain products Redbox provides its customers in kiosks at supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the nation. Disney recently lost a round in the ongoing copyright law battle when a judge denied its request for a preliminary injunction.
Redbox apparently purchases hard copy combo packs of Disney feature films, which include both discs and numerical codes for digital downloads of the movie. Redbox reportedly repackages the codes and sells them to the public. In some regions, the codes sell for less than $8.
Disney says Redbox has infringed upon its copyright, because along with the digital codes, the combo packs include text specifically stating the codes are prohibited from sale or transfer. However, the court ruled that since there is nothing printed on the outside of the package stating that opening the package constitutes agreement to the restrictions set forth therein, the restrictions are not legally enforceable against the purchaser. This has created an apparent loophole for Redbox who, at this time, continues to use digital codes for Disney downloads as part of its kiosk inventory.
Copyright law is often complex, as demonstrated by this case. Kansas and Missouri copyright owners who believe others have infringed upon their rights may want to seek immediate guidance from an experienced intellectual property law attorney.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Disney dealt setback in Redbox copyright dispute“, Ryan Faughnder, Feb. 21, 2018