A group of American TV providers have recently sued Dish Network, a satellite television provider, for copyright infringement because of its “Autohop” service. This service provides viewers with the ability to record prime time television programmes and be able to watch them within an eight day period. This is not altogether different to many other TiVo services on the American market at face value except this one adds the option to be able to skip all advertisements on the recording.
Fox, Comcast, NBC and CBS are in the process of suing Dish Networks for the allowing the recording of these shows, citing that it had no prior authorisation to provide such a service. Fox has stated that this sort of activity will be a serious blow to the way television broadcasting business is done if it is allowed to persist. As a result, they also called for a preliminary injunction against Dish Networks in order to stop the service entirely pending the court case. The courts however, refused to issue this preliminary injunction.
Dish called the refusal of this injunction a “victory for common sense”. Their opinion is that the technology they offer facilitates a desire that most, if not all, viewers share – skipping commercials.
The ruling in regard to the preliminary injunction has yet to be released to the public, in order to allow both companies to be able to redact any sensitive commercial information. All that is known so far is that the judge presiding has clearly stated that Fox is highly unlikely to manage to prove that it has suffered any form of irreparable harm as a result of the recordings created through Dish Network’s service. Regardless, the judge also stated, much to Fox’s satisfaction, that at face value, there is no denying the fact that the recordings are a violation of Fox’s copyright over the recording.
The copyright infringement litigation remains on-going.