Fox and Dish Continue to Battle Over Whole-Home Hopper’s ‘Auto Hop’ Feature

Dish Network’s Whole-Home Hopper service has certainly created a stir as of late among broadcasters and networks – and not in a good way.  While technology has been moving forward toward making it possible for viewers to skip commercials for decades (think VCR and DVR), the AutoHop feature advertised by Dish is making many in the industry very nervous.  In fact, CBS’ Leslie Moonves calls the AutoHop “illegal.”  According to news reports, Moonves is threatening to withhold programming if the satellite giant continues to promote the ad skipping service.

During the second week of November, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee denied a request by Fox Television who had requested a preliminary injunction to stop PrimeTime Anytime and the AutoHop feature.  This ruling was not what networks wanted to hear; now, Fox has filed an appeal and can fight the ruling based on contract obligations concerning the innovative AutoHop feature, or copyright infringement.  Essentially, AutoHop makes it possible for viewers to record programming and then watch later without having to “fast forward” through commercials.

According to news reports, several television networks have filed lawsuits against Dish claiming that the feature violates content copyright and retransmission agreements.  Fox Television, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and Broadcasting Company appealed Gee’s denial of the injunction motion; Dish also filed a lawsuit in May against several networks claiming those networks (including Fox) conspired to deny Dish the right to air AutoHop advertising.

Judge Gee rejected Fox’s claims because in her opinion, it is not Dish but the user who “causes” the copy of programming to be made.  She said that it is the user of the service who actually enables Primetime Anytime.  As of now, it remains to be seen whether Dish will ultimately be able to continue airing AutoHop ads.

Spotora & Associates is a Los Angeles business and entertainment law firm offering exceptional legal representation in a wide scope of areas related to business mergers and acquisitions, contractual, copyright, corporate and entertainment issues and more.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 19th, 2012 at 8:17 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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