updated 07:54 pm EST, Wed November 7, 2012
Judge: insufficient evidence proving Hopper DVR damaging Fox
Judge Dolly Gee of the US District Court of the Central District of California ruled today that the Dish Network ad-skipping feature and automatic recording feature found in the Hopper digital video recorder system can continue to be sold and marketed. According to the ruling, Fox Broadcasting didn't demonstrate sufficient damages from the features to justify a preliminary injunction before a full trial can take place.
Fox intends on appealing today's decision, saying that "Dish is marketing and benefitting from an unauthorized service that illegally copies Fox's valuable programming."
Dish's general counsel, R. Stanton Dodge, countered in a statement that the court's affirmative ruling confirmed "a consumer's right to enjoy television as they want, when they want, including the reasonable right to skip commercials, if they so choose."
The court ruling and most of the comments by Fox Broadcasting and Dish Network are sealed. The court is holding the ruling, giving the companies an opportunity to redact trade secrets before it becomes publicly available.
CBS chief Les Moonves called the Hopper ad skipping and recording technology "illegal," despite no laws on the books declaring it so. Further statements by the other three networks suing Dish Network independently state concern for maintaining quality of programming in the face of skippable advertisements.
Dish Network claims in the court paperwork that "this case is about freedom of consumer choice, individual families' choice to elect, if they want, to time-shift their television viewing and watch recorded television without commercials." Furthermore, the document reiterates that the commercials are not erased nor deleted, and can be watched if the viewer wishes to see them.