Fox Broadcasting and Dish Network have finally come to an agreement to settle a bitter lawsuit over the ad-skipping, place-shifting Hopper. On Wednesday, court papers were filed stipulating to a dismissal, marking the end of a legal battle that has lasted nearly four years and resulted in judicial guidance on newer uses of copyrighted programming.
A federal judge has extended a stay in Fox and Dish Network’s litigation over Dish’s AutoHop ad-skipping service, giving both sides more time to reach a settlement.
Dish Network roiled the TV industry with its AutoHop technology that enables subscribers to automatically delete commercials from blocks of primetime network programming. On Thursday, the satellite TV giant introduced a new AutoHop gimmick just in time for Sunday’s Super Bowl extravaganza. “Instead of automatically skipping commercials, customers will have the option to instead skip the game and watch only the commercials,” a Dish spokesman said.
Maybe the most interesting facet of CBS’s Saturday deal with Dish Network is its exemption from AutoHop. You can’t skip ads anymore on The Big Bang Theory, folks. On the bright side, CBS is no longer suing Dish over the technology. And that leaves a very interesting question open: Is AutoHop now less attractive as an incentive to consumers than as a bargaining chip in carriage negotiations?
A federal judge indicated a tentative decision that Dish Network isn’t violating copyright law in its offering of a service that allows subscribers to record primetime programs with commercials automatically deleted. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee’s tentative ruling in favor of Dish Network’s AutoHop features isn’t a surprise. She has sided with the company in previous court rulings as Fox challenged the legality of the service.
Dish Network’s ad-skipping recording feature survived a court bid by ABC to shut it down almost a year after a Los Angeles judge rejected a similar effort by other broadcasters. ABC’s request for a preliminary injunction against the ad-skipping service was denied yesterday by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who placed her opinion under seal because it contained confidential business information, according to a filing in federal court in Manhattan.
A federal appeals court says a lower court was correct in deciding against Fox’s request that Dish be blocked from offering its set-top box features that automatically record all primetime programming on the Big Four broadcast networks and then automatically skip all the commercials on playback.
Fox Broadcasting Co. is asking a federal appeals court to overrule a district judge and halt Dish Network Corp.’s AutoHop ad-skipping service that it says threatens television’s advertising system. Lawyers for Fox are scheduled to present their case today at a hearing in Pasadena, Calif. They claim Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime and Auto Hop services, which allow subscribers to record all four networks’ entire primetime schedule and watch the shows commercial-free the next day, infringe Fox’s copyrights and breach Dish’s license agreement with Fox.
As questions persist about the fate of Dish Network’s automatic ad-skipping technology, there is at least one certainty: money talks. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has said unless Dish abandons the Hopper DVR, he won’t allow the satellite operator to carry CBS content. But he has also suggested that he would drop that push if Dish paid CBS $5 a month per subscriber. Station groups seem to have the same idea.
The TV network says the satellite TV provider “deliberately failed to disclose” the automatic ad-skipping features during contract negotiations in 2011.
In legal papers filed on Tuesday, the network says that Dish concealed facts about the Auto Hop during 2011 negotiations.
In an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling, Fox Broadcasting says it is not “crying wolf” about the potential disruption to the broadcast business that may come from Dish Network’s DVR-like feature that automatically skips commercials.
The ABC television network is trying to shut down Dish Network Corp.’s ad-skipping TV recording feature two weeks after a federal judge denied a similar bid by a different broadcaster. ABC said it will seek a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, according to a filing in Manhattan federal court.
While networks worry about Dish’s service, commercials thrive on YouTube.
With the same fervor that some consumers display when skipping commercials with DVRs, some network executives want to eliminate a certain Dish Network device. But if they succeed, they’ll be ridding the world of an engineering feat. At least according to one group. The Consumer Electronics Association has named the AutoHop functionality an “honoree” for an innovative design and engineering award linked with its Consumer Electronics Show.
Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday struck down the request by Fox, according to a statement from Dish. A Fox spokesman confirmed the ruling but said the network would appeal.
The path for CBS chief Leslie Moonves’ efforts to thwart Dish Network’s Auto Hop seemed easy enough. Moonves could simply threaten Dish in a carriage negotiation to abandon the commercial-skipper or else CBS would keep the stations it owns off the satellite operator. But, the chance for CBS to exert that leverage and control its destiny, as it were, appears to be off the table for a good while. Instead, Moonves and CBS look to be at the mercy of the federal courts.
It’s fitting that Dispatch Broadcast Group’s settlement of a carriage dispute with Dish Network came when it did, for today marks 20 years since the passage of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act, the measure that created retransmission consent and a second revenue stream that is now critical to local television.
The broadcaster says the ad-zapping feature of Dish’s Hopper DVR is not a factor in the negotiations for a new retrans contract replacing the one that expires on Sunday.
The broadcasting arm of Gannett Co. has told Dish Network that it will pull its stations from the satellite TV provider if Dish does not block the Auto Hop commercial-skipping feature on its DVRs or agree to pay penalties. The current retrans deal between the two companies expires on Oct. 7. Stations in 19 cities would be affected.
All broadcasters should follow the lead of CBS’s Leslie Moonves and threaten to use their retrans clout to come down hard on Dish Network and the Auto Hop commercial-skipping feature of its Hopper DVR. Allowing subscribers to skip all spots in recorded programs at the touch of a button is a broadcasting killer.
Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton picked up the gauntlet that CBS chief Leslie Moonves threw down yesterday when he threatened to pull CBS from the satellite system if it continues to market its ad-zapping Hopper DVR. Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said: “Give the customer choice and control. Give the customer a better experience and we all win.”
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves says the company will ultimately drop its flagship network from Dish Network unless the satellite operator discontinues its Auto Hop ad-skipping device. CBS is in litigation, along with other broadcast networks, trying to thwart the device.
The network points to Dish’s own moves, which it says “concedes” that the original Auto Hop service was infringing.
In new legal papers, Dish no longer refers to its DVR ad-skipping technology as happening “automatically.”
Some of the changes Dish has made to its Auto Hop seem designed to potentially defuse some of the legal ssues the broadcast networks are fighting, at least in the eyes of the court. Now when Dish asks subscribers to enable the Auto Hop feature on its DVR and allow it to skip commercials, the “no” box is checked by default instead of the “yes” box..
Dish Network is demanding a New York jury trial in its dispute with ABC over the satellite provider’s ad-skipping Auto Hop feature. In a filing Tuesday, Dish also denied several claims by ABC that it had violated its copyrights by creating, in essence, an “unauthorized, commercial-free, on-demand service.”
Satellite broadcaster Dish Network lost the preliminary legal bout with broadcast networks CBS, NBC and Fox over its commercial skipping feature known as the Auto Hop. A New York federal court Monday denied Dish’s request for a declaratory ruling that the Auto Hop does not violate copyright law.
Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan said Monday that she will make a decision within a week on Dish network’s request to move the case brought by CBS, Fox and NBC against the satellite provider’s ad-skipping technology from New York to Los Angeles.
The three broadcast networks will face Dish in court starting today over its commercial-skipping feature Auto Hop, which works on TV network programs recorded on DVRs.
Add Rep. John Dingell to the list of people who don’t like the new commercial-skipping function, known as Auro Hop on Dish Network’s new Hopper DVR. At a Wednesday hearing on video distribution held by the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Dingell complained that the service will allow potential voters to skip past political campaign messages.
In written testimony to Congress, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said the satellite broacaster’s controversial new commercial-skipping feature will help protect children from the marketing efforts of the fast food and alcohol industries.
The war of words continues as the parties are now fighting over New York vs. California as the forum for dispute.
Mark Cuban offered television networks some advice in their dispute with Dish over its divisive new “Auto Hop” feature: make a deal. Cuban said that Dish made a smart decision by introducing the commercial skipping feature because it is just trying to create a better experience for its users.
Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charlie Ergen says a new ad-skipping feature that has infuriated major broadcast TV networks is a “competitively necessary” response to the explosion of cheap Internet video. That Web video threatens the pay-TV ecosystem, he added, and it is partly caused by the TV networks themselves.
Dish Network said Wednesday that Hoak Media has blocked access to 14 channels in markets in Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado amid a carriage dispute that involves Dish’s ad-skipping DVR.
A New York judge on Wednesday dealt the networks a blow in their battle to stop Dish Networks and its ad-skipping AutoHop technology. A suit filed by Fox, which seeks to ban the feature Dish debuted May 10, was delayed until July 2 by U.S. District Judge Laura T. Swain.
Dish sued the Big Four TV networks over its new ad-skipping Auto Hop feature Thursday, even as Fox filed the first network Auto Hop lawsuit against Dish. Dish sought a federal court’s “declaratory judgment on questions” related to the technology, which allows viewers to skip commercials when they watch previously aired shows. Fox, meanwhile, accused Dish of copyright violations.
If Dish Network was expecting an “I am Spartacus” level of peer support for its new ad-skipping DVR, it won’t find it at this week’s Cable Show. And aggrevated broadcasters shouldn’t be looking to hear an apology and retraction from Dish chief Charlie Ergen, either.
The upfront presentations have taken on greater urgency as the networks fight to convince advertisers that they remain the most direct route to consumers — many of whom are no longer watching shows on television sets, but rather via other technology that can leave advertisers behind. And this week’s sales pitches took on more urgency as Dish Network unveiled its ad-skipping feature Auto Hop.