Earlier this year Fox Broadcasting filed a lawsuit against Dish Network alleging the satellite television provider’s Auto Hop feature on their Hopper DVR was guilty of copyright infringement and breach of contract. The network asked for an injunction to disable the feature that allows customers to skip commercials in certain scenarios simply by pressing a button.
As The Verge points out, Auto Hop allows viewers to watch recorded primetime content commercial-free after 1 a.m. the following day. Fox says this constitutes copyright infringement and breach of contract because they are making illegal copies of their programming. Dish believes the Auto Hop feature doesn’t violate copyright because it doesn’t alter the broadcast’s signal.
Furthermore, Fox and several others say the technology could ultimately destroy an industry that relies on advertising dollars earned through selling commercial spots. This money is typically used to help pay for producing some of your favorite network shows.
Judge Dolly Gee for the US District Court for California’s Central District has rejected the request for injunction but did determine that the service breaches contract and constitutes copyright infringement. The severity of those two rulings is still unknown at this hour as the case file is still sealed.
Fox has confirmed they plan to appeal the rejected injunction but was grateful on the other two findings. General Counsel Stanton Dodge released a statement saying Dish was gratified that the court sided with consumer choice and control by rejecting Fox’s efforts to deny customers access to the feature.
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