Fox Fails Again To Stop Dish Ad-Skip Service

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.

In another legal setback for broadcasters, the federal appeals court in San Francisco today affirmed a lower court’s decision to not stop Dish Network from offering its controversial ad-skipping Hopper technology to its satellite TV subscribers.

Fox Broadcasting had sought a preliminary injunction in the district court in Los Angeles, where it is suing Dish for breach of carriage agreements and copyright infringement in connection with the Hopper service. The district court denied the injunction last year.

Built into Dish set-top boxes, Hopper’s Primetime Anytime and AutoHop features allow subscribers to automatically record all primetime programming on the Big Four broadcast networks and then to automatically skip all the commercials on playback.

In its 25-page decision, the appeals court said the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that “Fox did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on its copyright infringement and breach of contract claims.

“Furthermore, the district court did not err in holding that Fox did not demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable harm from Dish’s creation of the ‘quality assurance’ copies used to perfect the functioning of AutoHop.”

In a statement, Fox said: “We are disappointed in the court’s ruling, even though the bar to secure a preliminary injunction is very high. This is not about consumer choice or advances in technology. It is about a company devising an unlicensed, unauthorized service that clearly infringes our copyrights and violates our contract. We will review all of our options and proceed accordingly.”


Comments (9)

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kendra campbell says:

July 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Correct decision. Sorry FOX – you don’t get to control folk’s technology.

    Mitch keegan says:

    July 27, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Yes as we all know it costs the people that make the content you are entitled to for free absolutely nothing for them to produce.

Paul Hoagland says:

July 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm

While I am not an engineer I can;t understand why any program supplier has not inserted a signal into the VBI that would disable this “Hopper.” Can it really be that difficult?

Manuel Morales says:

July 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Pretty simple solution- handle this via contract. The new round of retransmisison consent agreements will include prohibitions against retransmitting the signals through devices that skip all the ads.

Sergio Rataus says:

July 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Wrong decision, more anti-fox liberal BS. FOX already has the most forgiving retrans deals, unlike the Lib Elite nets. Why not just stop ALL income to broadcast, eventually all we’ll have to watch liberal propaganda and homemade you-tube videos. It IS a violation and IF the courts were unbiased and fair, they’d act accordingly. But we no longer live a world of “justice for all.”

Morgan Bryant says:

July 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I agree – pretty simple. Just put all advertisements on a broadcast channel called the “Advertising Channel” and see how many people tune in. It’s not about controlling technology it’s about controlling people. I’m so tired of wasting time watching commercials I DVR everything and specifically don’t buy products that are force fed to me every 7 minutes.


July 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Really Marty. I don’t know many people who like watching commercials…except maybe during the Super Bowl. However, it is pretty simple. No commercials, no TV. Programs with no commercials are typically from pay channels.

    kendra campbell says:

    July 25, 2013 at 8:27 am

    There is no longer a reasonable balance. The average prime time hour has over 20 minutes of commercials. It’s insulting and insane.

Joli Francis says:

July 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

It’s not a question of controlling folks’ technology. It’s that Dish is a party to a contract to retransmit FOX’s (and others’) content unaltered. There’s no difference between altering the content or providing their customer the means to alter the content. It’s like standing beside a tree and handing someone an ax and then saying I had nothing to do with that tree being chopped down. If a Dish customer buys Hopper technology from Radio Shack that’s nobody’s business but Dish has no business offering their customers Hopper technology to eliminate commercials that Dish is contractually obligated to keep intact.

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