Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Contract disputes may affect more than the businesses involved

If you or our business is currently embroiled in a contract dispute with another individual or business, it is important to think very carefully about how your response will affect others, as well as yourself. When it comes to success in business, profit margins are not the only measurement that counts. Branding, brand loyalty, public trust and a host of other factors that may contribute to the success or downfall of your business may be affected by contract disputes.

Take, for example, the recent contract dispute between Dish Network and Turner Broadcasting. Turner licenses various cable channels for distribution by numerous subscription services, including Dish Network. Recently, the two companies locked horns over a renewal distribution deal and could not settle on agreeable terms before the expiration of the pair’s current contract.

As a result of the impasse, Turner pulled access to several high-profile channels from Dish Network’s distribution network. Dish customers have lost access to CNN and Turner Classic Movies, among other channels. Given that CNN was one of the only English-speaking networks to carry the president’s address uninterrupted last night, Turner is arguably denying the public access to important news.

Consumers could take out their frustrations on Dish Network, Turner Broadcasting or both of these companies. Although the contract dispute in question only involves the two companies, the repercussions of the outstanding dispute are affecting millions of Americans.

When you find yourself in a contract dispute with another business or individual, please do not hesitate to speak with an attorney about how each of your legal options may affect your customers, consumers in general and public opinion of your business.

Source: CNET, “Dish loses 7 channels in contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting,” Steven Musil, Oct. 20, 2014

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