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Dish Vows to Fight Fox’s ‘AutoHop’ Injunction Filing

4 Sep, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Dish Network says it is determined to fight renewed efforts by Fox Broadcasting, which Aug. 22 sought a court injunction against the continued rollout of the satellite TV operator’s ad-skipping technology.

Fox, including 20th Century Fox Film Corp., May 24 filed a lawsuit against Dish alleging that the latter’s PrimeTime Anytime feature, the AutoHop feature, as well as Sling place-shifting functionality infringe their copyrights and breach their retransmission consent agreements, among other concerns.

Specifically, AutoHop allows Dish subscribers to voluntarily skip ads on recorded primetime programming. TV networks and media companies, including NBCUniversal and CBS Corp., filed separate suits against AutoHop.

The suits, in addition to Fox’s injunction filing in Los Angeles federal courts, are set to begin Sept. 21.

“We intend to vigorously prosecute and defend our position in these cases,” Dish wrote in an Aug. 30 regulatory filing. 

The satellite TV operator said that should the court determine that it infringes the asserted copyrights, it could be subject to substantial damages, and/or an injunction that could require it to materially modify certain features offered to consumers. In addition, Dish warned that due to the litigation it might not be able to renew certain of its retransmission consent agreements and other programming agreements on favorable terms or at all. 

“If we are unable to renew these agreements, there can be no assurance that we would be able to obtain substitute programming, or that such substitute programming would be comparable in quality or cost to our existing programming,” Dish wrote. “Loss of access to existing programming could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including, among other things, our gross new subscriber activations and subscriber churn rate. We cannot predict with any degree of certainty the outcome of these suits or determine the extent of any potential liability or damages.”

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