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Dish Files Fox Opposition

19 Mar, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Satellite TV operator files motion in response to Fox’s second preliminary injunction

Dish Network has filed a motion seeking to deny what it says is Fox Broadcast Co.’s second attempt to halt components of its controversial Hopper digital video recorder, including prohibiting user access to recorded programming on portable devices.

The motion – filed March 15 in Los Angeles District Court – claims Fox’s Feb. 21 preliminary injunction alleging that Hopper’s Dish Anywhere functionality violates retransmission consent agreements, among other issues, is faulty.

Dish Anywhere incorporates Sling Media technology that allows subscribers to access recorded programming on tablets and smartphones with or without an Internet connection. Satellite operator EchoStar, which is owned by Dish founder and chairman Charlie Ergen, acquired Sling in 2007.

Dish’s motion contends Sling has been in existence for years, with the Copyright Office in 2008 declaring the technology made “existing licensed programming available to individuals for personal use in a controlled fashion and without the need for an additional license.”

“What did Fox actually do when Dish’s predecessor first introduced the underlying technologies seven years ago in 2005? Nothing. Fox slept while Dish and its competitors rolled out devices aimed at “space-shifting”— the ability to get away from the living room television and watch in other places,” Dish said in the motion.

Fox and media companies, NBC, CBS and ABC, last year filed separate lawsuits against Hopper’s AutoHop technology, claiming it violates copyrights and carriage agreements, among other issues. AutoHop allows users to automatically skip TV ads on recorded — not live — primetime programming.

Last November, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled in favor of Dish by denying Fox’s preliminary injunction request against AutoHop. Fox subsequently filed another preliminary injunction against Sling.

“Fox sat idle and silent … as Dish has developed and marketed the technologies behind Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers,” said R. Stanton Dodge, EVP and general counsel with Dish, in a statement. “The district court denied Fox’s prior attempt to deprive consumers of Hopper features and we believe that Fox’s second bite at the apple is likewise meritless.”


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