Judge Denies Disney’s Attempt to Stop Free Movies on Dish6 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Satellite operator, in honor of its 30th anniversary, is offering free access to Starz Entertainment content
A federal judge denied a motion by The Walt Disney Co. to force Dish Network Corp. to stop giving subscribers free access to select movies licensed through Starz Entertainment.
The judge in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York issued the order — without explanation — June 2 in the same court where Disney earlier this year filed a motion claiming the Dish giveaway would subject its film division to “irreparable harm” with free access to such films as Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland — the two top grossing theatrical releases in 2010.
Starz filed its own complaint last month in a Colorado court.
Dish, in a counter motion, said it has the right to distribute Starz content the way it sees fit, including as loss leader or promotional vehicle. In addition Dish said Disney waited nearly four months to file a complaint.
“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,” Dish said in a statement last month.
Indeed, Dish, which acquired domestic rights to Blockbuster in April, is giving away three-month memberships to rental chain free to new satellite subscribers, which includes free movie rentals priced from $1.99 or below through July 4.