A ruling by a U.S. District Court Judge in New York paved the way for broadcasters to fight the creation of Dish’s controversial AutoHop feature in their own backyard. Judge Laura Swain said nets like Fox, CBS, and NBC can move ahead with their copyright infringement and breach of contract cases in a U.S. District Court in California, where judges have been strict about copyright issues in the past.
“We are pleased that the court has determined that Fox, as the true victim and plaintiff here, should have the right to proceed in its chosen forum in the 9th Circuit,” a Fox statement reads. “Now we move on to the real issue at hand – demonstrating that DISH Network has created and marketed a product with the clear goal of breaching its license with Fox, violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television business – which damages not only Fox and the other major networks, but also the hundreds of local stations around the country. We look forward to trying and winning the case on its merits.”
Dish Exec VP and General Counsel R. Stanton Dodge released this: “Regardless of the venue, we look forward to proceeding with this case, recognizing that it has been 28 years since the Supreme Court’s ‘Betamax’ decision held that a viewer, in the privacy of their home, could record a television show to watch later. The Court ruled that ‘time-shifting’ constituted a fair use of copyrighted television programming. Those Betamax users could permissibly fast-forward through commercials on recorded shows – just as DVR users do today. DISH will stand behind consumers and their right to skip commercials, something they have been doing since the invention of the remote control.”
The Big Four networks all filed suit in Los Angeles against the cable company after it introduced a new DVR feature on May 10 called AutoHop, which allows Dish’s 14 million-plus viewers to jump past commercials. The technology can only be used on primetime broadcast shows recorded with Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime feature, and only after 1 a.m. the day following the original airing.