Three legal actions were filed today over Dish Network’s Hopper DVR, which lets subscribers watch recorded shows without the commercials the programs included when broadcast. More suits are virtually inevitable in this quickly developing situation.
Two were filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of NBCUniversal and, separately, Fox Broadcasting, 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and Fox Television Holdings. As the industry has been expecting, the suits accuse Dish of copyright infringement and breach of contract.
The third was filed by in federal court by Dish Network itself and names Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS. The satellite TV company is seeking”declaratory judgment on questions” related to its technology and features.
In a statement to the media, Fox said: “We were given no choice but to file suit against one of our largest distributors, Dish Network, because of their surprising move to market a product with the clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem. Their wrongheaded decision requires us to take swift action in order to aggressively defend the future of free, over-the-air television.”
Calling Dish Network’s Auto Hop as-skipping feature an “unlawful service,” NBCUniversal issued a statement that in part read, “Dish simply does not have the authority to tamper with the ads from broadcast replays on a wholesale basis for its own economic and commercial advantage.”
Dish Network’s Auto Hop is part of its Hopper PrimeTime Anytime service, which allows viewers to record all of the primetime TV programming on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC in HD with a single click. Users can choose to activate Auto Hop for programs they want to watch one to eight days after broadcast.
New York Times – Dish Seeks Ruling on Feature That Skips All Commercials
Broadcasting & Cable – Fox Sues Dish Over Ad Skipping DVR
Hollywood Reporter – Fox Sues Dish Network Over Auto Hop Ad-Skipper