Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Redbox and Disney tangle over digital download codes

Redbox is often the go-to solution for quick movie rentals in New Jersey, but Disney is now claiming that Redbox is pulling a fast one. Disney has accused Redbox of what amounts to illegal sales of its digital content. Attorneys for Disney say that Redbox is opening combo packs that contain a DVD, Blu-Ray and code for a digital copy of some films and then selling the digital redemption codes.

One of the issues at play in this case is whether or not Disney's intellectual property rights are being infringed upon through the sale of a digital code. On the one hand, Disney could try to claim that the code leads to a digital product that has not been sold to the Redbox customer because the code was included with the combo pack, which Redbox purchased and the customer did not.

On the other hand, Redbox may try to use the First Sale Doctrine in its defense. This doctrine essentially allows the original purchaser of a piece of intellectual property to sell it to someone else since the purchased property is theirs once the transaction is complete.

This case is a good example of how it's important to understand the laws pertaining to ownership, especially when that ownership involves intellectual property in the digital age. People across the internet violate intellectual property laws every single day, and some may not even realize that their actions are illegal.

This is why it may be crucial to work with an intellectual property litigation attorney when someone plans to create, repurpose or redistribute content. An intellectual property lawyer may be able to provide guidance while offering protection in the event that a claim is filed against a content creator or distributor.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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