Judge Rejects Fox’s Injuction against DISH’s AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime Features

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On Wednesday, November 7th, Judge Dolly Gee rejected Fox Broadcasting Network’s primary injunction against DISH’s AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime features, which Fox claims to be illegal on grounds of copyright infringement.

What are these DISH features?

AutoHop, which was instated in July of 2012, allows DISH customers to choose to skip commercials on DVR recordings from The Big 4 Networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) 24 hours after the programs have recorded. The PrimeTime Anytime feature records all of The Big 4 simultaneously during primetime hours 7 days a week.

Results of the Primary Injunction

Fox holds that the technology allows for copyright infringement by illegally copying Fox programming sans commercial advertisements. However, Judge Gee maintained that these new features of DISH’s Hopper and Joey system:

· Do not allow for copyright infringement

· Do not infringe on Fox’s reproduction rights under federal law

· Do not constitute unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material under federal law

· Do not violate the Video-On-Demand segment of the contract agreement between DISH and Fox

· Likely violate provisions of the agreement via copies of Fox programs made as part of DISH’s “quality assurance” of the AutoHop feature, but that no evidence of “irreparable damage” can be presented by Fox

DISH and Fox Respond to the Decision

While the court battle is far from over, the judge’s decisions thus far are in the best interest of DISH. Executive Vice President and General Counsel R. Stanton Dodge calls the ruling “a victory for common sense and customer choice” and adds, “We look forward to vigorously defending AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime and the choice and control those features provide to our subscribers.”

Fox executives also vow to make further progress in the litigation, noting their intent to appeal the decision of the court “as well as separate findings concerning the PrimeTime Anytime service. DISH is marketing and benefiting from an unauthorized VOD service that illegally copies Fox’s valuable programming.”

Based on online discussion, it appears that many consumers are in favor of the AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime features of the Hopper and Joey.

Do you think DISH should be allowed to retain their AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime features?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I'm not sure
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