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Redbox sues Warner Home Video over new DVD restrictions

August 19, 2009 | 10:58 am

KodqerncREDBOX Redbox filed suit Tuesday against Warner Home Video, its third such lawsuit against a Hollywood studio over attempts to delay distribution of newly released DVDs to the operator of $1 movie rental kiosks.

The suit takes issue with new distribution terms imposed by Warner Home Video that would prohibit kiosk operators like Redbox from obtaining new releases on DVD 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 Twentieth 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.

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

Warner Home Video could not be reached this morning for comment.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: A Redbox DVD rental kiosk. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images