RED Prepares To Sue ARRI ?

Unlike the continual patent infringement bickering between the major player in the mobile industry, the digital cinema and even photographic industry is a lot quieter on the legal front.  This week though a story of Hollywood proportions is beginning to unfold when it was revealed that ARRI’s ex VP of Market Development Michael Bravin has pleaded guilty to hacking into the e-mail account of a rival camera company called Band Pro Film and Digital, a company with close ties to RED Digital Cinema.  Mr Bravin is an ex employee of Band Pro and in his plea agreement filed last week with a US District Court, Mr Bravin admitted to intentionally accessing the account belonging to Band Pro’s CEO, Amnon Band and has been sentenced to 2 weeks in jail.

RED’s CEO Jim Jannard has always been a participant in RED’s online community at and as this news broke he commented on the site:

Unfortunately, this will get messy. Not what anyone would vote for. Certainly not me…. The more I know… the more sad I get. “Significant” does not begin to describe the facts. I am heartbroken.  One of the companies I held in the highest esteem now has left me shattered.  The magnitude of the betrayal is really hard to comprehend.  The situation forces a reaction that I never would have considered a possibility.

Initially it was not clear how much this was going to affect RED and whether any legal action would be a necessity but today he followed this with:

After getting a full update from my attorney on all that went on the past couple of years, I need to take a few days off.

After 36 years of doing business, I have never seen such a thing… and I have seen quite a lot.

This was followed quickly by Jim’s right hand man, Jarred Land, correcting another commenter on a post who had asked if ARRI was Suing RED.  Jarred simply replied:

You have that backwards…..

Jim has had to be involved in hundreds of lawsuits. He has never lost. Not one. With companies 100x larger than Arri.

I’m certain that many more facts will soon come out in the wash and we’ll begin to get a better idea for the scale of this situation.  Judging by RED’s reaction, they are deeply involved in this despite the fact that the hacked account was that of one of their partners and not theirs directly.  Do ARRI now know all of RED’s future plans ?  This could possibly affect the development and release of new products by ARRI if it’s proven that they are based on knowledge that was obtained in such a clandestine manner.  I’m not a legal expert though so we’ll have to wait until a little more information is revealed but given Michael Bravin’s guilty plea I would not like to be in ARRI’s shoes right now.  RED has become a force to be reckoned with in the digital video and cinema industry, this could get very ugly!

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Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in the Canadian Yukon, but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

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