Dish Wins Yet Again Over Networks Looking To Kill Off New Innovations With Questionable Copyright Claims

from the good-news dept

We've noted plenty of times how the legacy entertainment industry loves to attack every innovation it doesn't like with copyright claims, using them as a sort of whiner's veto on innovation. Too frequently, this strategy works. Thankfully, with Dish's AutoHopper, it's been a rather consistent failure. As you may recall, various TV networks sued Dish for its Autohop feature, which would automatically record all prime time shows to a DVR for people to watch later -- and, which then autoskipped the commercials, if you watched any day after the day it was recorded. So far, the lawsuits have not been going well, and that trend has continued with the latest tentative ruling in favor of Dish:
Dish Network Corp.'s AutoHop service, which lets subscribers watch recorded primetime television programs with the advertisements taken out, doesn’t infringe Fox Broadcasting Co.’s copyrights, a federal judge said in a tentative decision.
The judge noted that there may be a separate contractual issue, in that it's possible that Dish violated a contract with Fox, but that there isn't a copyright issue here. That's big, because it's yet another ruling that effectively ends the nonsensical argument that skipping commercials is somehow copyright infringement. The amount of legal gymnastics the TV networks had to go through to make that argument was fairly incredible, and it's good to see the courts aren't buying it.

Filed Under: autohopper, copyright, innovation
Companies: dish, fox


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 6:26am

    Which will mean more "in play" commercials, which can't be skipped.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 6:30am

    The networks have to blame themselves for companies like DISH though...I mean: for every hour I watch on US channels, there's like 40 minutes of commercials. (mostly meds, guess what makes our meds so expensive?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      Well, that's a bit much but if you look at ten years ago and today there's a notable difference.

      10 years ago a 30 minute show had 5 minutes of commercials. That became 7 and now it's closing in on 10.

      This is on cable television, which the whole point of was you paid and thus didn't see that crap.

      They have had their cake and yours and eaten someone else's because they can.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      PRMan, 21 Oct 2014 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      No, you watch exactly 18 minutes of commercials for every hour on US television. Shows are 42 minutes in length. That makes commercials 60-42=18 minutes.

      If you watch half hour shows, you actually get a little bit less as half hour shows are 22 minutes so only 16 minutes of commercials.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 6:31am

    Catch 22?

    Not viewing (ad) content = copyright infringment.
    Viewing (ad) content = copyright infringment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TJ, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:17am

    Its almost like hitting fast forward on an old VCR. Just much faster, easier and button free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 8:05am

    It's sad that sometimes they manage to kill and keep dead (see Aereo). Still, I'm hoping Dish delivers many defeats to these morons and set up a healthy environment for others to thrive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LAB (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 8:30am

    I always felt the argument against the hopper was weak. The hopper in function seems like an automated programmable digital VCR and the courts decided the non-infringing validity of the technology years ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      PRMan, 21 Oct 2014 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      The courts also found that using a cable to provide OTA signals as is to people that couldn't receive them easily was also settled a long time ago.

      And yet...Aereo lost with some BS "walks like a duck" nonsense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:11pm

    Advertiser Pressure

    The real problem, as I se it, is that the advertisers want to get multiple plays for their money. They buy a certain time slot on a program, for X amount of money. If that purchase can be forced into multiple plays of the same commercial, they gain multiples of that "investment" (I wonder what would happen if ALL advertising was stopped?). Thus the pressure on the carriers to kill Autohopper. Like everyone else they want to have their cake and eat it too. Hopefully the courts will continue to quash them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2014 @ 12:43am

      Re: Advertiser Pressure

      That still makes no sense. Dish skipping the ads doesn't actually mean the ads aren't played. It's the same as getting up to use the bathroom while ads play, which network executives insisted was the same thing and amounted to stealing. That is, until that argument got laughed out of everywhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SilverBlade, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:57pm

    If Dish wins enough lawsuits that are filed against it, wouldn't the networks try to re-work their contracts with Dish, so that if Dish wanted to carry those signals, they would be forced to remove support for the Hopper?

    Or would the networks just threaten to end their contracts with Dish because of the Hopper?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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