Starz, Disney Sue Dish Over Year-Long Free Access To Starz Channels

Starz Entertainment and The Walt Disney Co. filed separate lawsuits Tuesday against Dish Network, alleging the satellite TV operator's offer to let its subscribers have access to one free year of Starz's premium networks violates the terms of their distribution agreements.

Dish raised rates for almost all of its video tiers as of Feb. 1, 2011, adding $3 to $5 per month to most of its programming packages and then enacting a two-year price freeze through January 2013. At the same time, the operator offered virtually all subscribers free access to seven different Starz channels and one Encore channel.

According to the Starz lawsuit, the "free preview" provision of its agreement with Dish permits the satellite TV operator to provide Starz television channels to Dish subscribers free of charge, but only on under mutually agreed-upon terms.

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