Dish Network Sues Broadcasters In Battle Over Ad-Skipping Device
05/24/2012| 06:37pm US/Eastern
- Dish Network sues broadcasters for judgment on "Hopper" device
- Fox files first of broadcaster lawsuits alleging copyright infringement
- Battle focused on Dish's new ad-skipping technology, recording services
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By William Launder
Dish Network Corp.'s (>> DISH Network Corp.) standoff with broadcasters over its new ad-skipping technology turned into a legal battle Thursday as the parties filed lawsuits against each other.
Dish sued the four major broadcast networks--News Corp.'s (NWS, NWSA, NWS.AU) Fox Network, CBS Corp.'s (CBS, CBSA) CBS, Walt Disney Co.'s (>> The Walt Disney Company) ABC and Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA, CMCSK) NBC--in federal court, requesting a "declaratory judgment" that its new ad-skipping feature doesn't infringe copyright law.
News Corp. owns Dow Jones Newswires.
Meanwhile, Fox became the first of the broadcasters to sue Dish, accusing the company in a California district court of violating copyright laws and a license agreement with the launch of its PrimeTime Anytime service. Fox referred to the service in its complaint as Dish's "own bootleg broadcast video-on-demand service."
The service is available to Dish subscribers on its new "Hopper" device, which has been harshly dismissed by broadcast executives in recent weeks as an attempt to undermine TV's traditional advertising business. A feature on the device allows viewers to bypass commercials that have been previously recorded digitally.
"Dish is undermining legitimate consumer choice by undercutting authorized on-demand service and by offering a service, if not enjoined, will ultimately destroy the advertising-supported ecosystem," Fox lawyers wrote in a complaint.
Fox is seeking a court order to prevent Dish from unauthorized distribution or reproduction of its content, as well as damage compensation and legal fees.
Dish Network, Disney and NBC weren't immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for CBS declined to comment.
-By William Launder, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3412; firstname.lastname@example.org