While a U.S. District Court judge Monday rejected Fox Broadcasting's request for an injunction that would force Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) to disable its AutoHop ad-skipping feature, the company vowed it would appeal the decision.
Dish added the AutoHop function to its Hopper multiroom DVR in May, allowing subscribers that activate the feature to automatically remove all of the commercials from primetime programs on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee said in her ruling that AutoHop likely violates Fox's exclusive reproduction right under federal copyright law. But she found that Fox failed to demonstrate it has suffered irreparable harm, which is required for the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would compel Dish to disable AutoHop.
"We are gratified the court found the copies Dish makes for its AutoHop service constitute copyright infringement and breach the parties' contract," Fox said in a statement. "We are disappointed the court erred in finding that Fox's damages were not suitable for a preliminary injunction."
Dish noted that Gee also found AutoHop doesn't violate the video-on-demand provisions in a retransmission-consent agreement it signed with Fox in 2010 and that Dish subscribers can't be liable for copyright infringement. "Dish is gratified that the court has sided with consumer choice and control by rejecting Fox's efforts to deny our customers access to PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop--key features of the Hopper Whole-Home DVR," Dish general counsel R. Stanton Dodge said in a statement.
- see the Dish release
- Bloomberg has this story
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