Disney, Starz take legal issue with Dish Network offer

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Starz Entertainment want Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) to understand there is no such thing as a free launch, and they're going to court to prove the point.

In a dispute that shows the perceived value of "premium" content, Disney maintains that it gave Starz access to movies like Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland with the understanding that it would be shown on a premium channel. Dish, in a marketing move, offered Starz free to millions of subscribers through January 2012.

Starz, which is also suing Dish, said it "pleaded" with Dish to stop offering its service as a basic channel because it had received breach of contract notices from movie studios who, like Disney, expected to have their wares shown on a pay TV channel. Dish, in turn, said it's done nothing wrong: "Dish Network pays hundreds of millions of dollars for the right to distribute Starz content to our customers, which includes the rights to a number of Disney movies," the company said in a statement.

For more:
- see this Reuters story

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