Consumers in control on ad skipping as DISH serves further details of court victory

Editor | 13-11-2012

Leading US satellite provider DISH network has revealed more details of its ‘landmark’ win against US content firms regarding its AutoHop commercial-skipping and PrimeTime Anytime (PTAT) features.

As reported in RapidTV News, Judge Dolly Gee of the United States District Court, Central District of California “denied” a motion by Fox Broadcasting Company for a preliminary injunction against DISH. Specifically, the Court decided that the features will remain available to DISH customers for their continued enjoyment and control of their viewing experience. The Court accepted DISH’s position that “at its core PTAT is little more than a faster, more streamlined way for users to engage in the time-shifting privileges that they have enjoyed since the days of the Betamax.

In the publication of the details, the judgement found that fundamentally DISH’s customers, not DISH, make the recordings using the PTAT feature. The judgement’s detail said: “Despite DISH’s involvement in the copying process, the fact remains that the user, not DISH, must take the initial step of enabling PTAT after deciding that he or she wants to initiate the recording. The user, then, and not DISH, is the ‘most significant and important cause’ of the copy. (Prosser and Keeton on Torts § 42.) Accordingly, the Court finds that Fox has not established a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that PTAT directly infringes on its exclusive right to reproduction.”

Similarly with regards to AutoHop, the Court concluded that “neither the marking announcements nor the ad-skipping effect of [AutoHop] implicates any copyright interest or breach of contract on the current record….Therefore, because PTAT and AutoHop do not involve any actual distribution of unauthorised copies, the Court finds that Fox has not established a likelihood of success on the merits of its distribution claim.”

For its part, Fox has indicated its intention to appeal Judge Gee’s decision. DISH added that it is confident that the Court’s denial of Fox’s preliminary injunction motion ruling will stand.