RED Sues Arri Over Email Hacking, False Advertising In HD Camera Dust-Up

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Upstart digital cinema company RED, which has been the bane of many established camera companies for several years now, has filed suit against Arri, a leading camera manufacturer. They allege that Arri employed one Michael Bravin, a former employee of camera kit maker Band Pro, who hacked the email account of his former employee and stole confidential information relating to RED — and astroturfed for Arri on the official forums to boot. They also take exception to some claims Arri made in advertising disparaging RED’s cameras.

You can read the specifics below in the court filing, but the gist is that Bravin continually accessed the email of Amnon Band, founder of Band Pro, and was aware of acquisition talks in 2009 and 2010. He was hired by Arri in 2010 and allegedly provided them details of business and R&D at RED. He also posted on RedUser about how great Arri’s new camera, the Alexa, is. And there’s no question that it’s a great camera — but he posted under a fake name, and there were other circumstances. It’s questionably legal (and questionably illegal), but they are taking him to task for it anyway.

RED also says Arri made some claims in advertising regarding how their camera, sensor, and format were superior to others. Again, generally what advertising is for — but there is a little bit of untruth mixed in there, apparently. I like this little zinger:

In advertising specifically targeting RED customers, ARRI identifies films that have been shot on the Alexa. Among others, it lists the movie “I Hate You, Dad.” In actuality, this movie was shot on RED.

Burn! Who doesn’t like a little camera drama?

RED is seeking unspecified damages, but if the allegations turn out to be true, shelling out some cash would be the least of Arri’s worries. Photographers and cinematographers are very brand-loyal in general, but if they don’t feel they can trust that brand, they’ll leave like rats from a sinking ship. No indication of when the trial will be.