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Redbox sues Warner Home Video over new DVD restrictions

Warner Home Video is the latest Hollywood studio to face litigation by the operator of $1 movie rental kiosks.

August 20, 2009|Dawn C. Chmielewski

Redbox has sued Warner Home Video, its third such lawsuit against a Hollywood studio for trying to delay distribution of newly released DVDs to the operator of $1 movie rental kiosks.

The suit filed Tuesday takes issue with new distribution terms imposed by Warner Home Video that would prohibit kiosk operators like Redbox from obtaining new DVD releases for 28 days after they go on sale.

Time Warner Inc.-owned Warner Bros. adopted a policy for its home video unit similar to that imposed by 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures, which also prompted Redbox to bring civil suits.

"Warner Home Video's actions come at the expense of consumers," Redbox President Mitch Lowe said in a statement.

A Warner Home Video spokesman declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The studios are split over how to deal with the fast-growing operator, which has 15,000 vending machines at grocery, convenience and drugstores nationwide, as well as at stores owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment signed multimillion-dollar distribution agreements this summer with Redbox, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coinstar Inc.

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dawn.chmielewski@latimes.com

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