In an effort to fend off multiple lawsuits and prevent its new
Hopper feature from being exterminated, Dish Network may enlist
in the help of a competitor. Unofficially, of course. But if this
report is accurate, the satellite provider may be helped by a
2008 federal appeals court ruling that gave Cablevision (NYSE:
) the right to continue providing its customers with DVRs "to
record shows without authorization from the networks."
"The ruling enables remote home taping under the control of
the customer without copyright violation," Mitch Stoltz, a staff
attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Bloomberg.
"That's the law in New York. The networks are trying to limit
That ruling is key because Fox, the News Corp.-owned (NASDAQ:
) TV network, along with CBS (NYSE:
) and the Comcast-owned (NASDAQ:
) NBC, have accused Dish Network (NASDAQ:
) of copyright infringement.
Bloomberg reports that the judges on the appeals court "said
playback didn't constitute the transmission of a public
performance of a work for which a license would be necessary,"
which "removes one argument against ad-skipping playback --
namely, that it creates an unauthorized copy of a copyrighted
This is good news for Dish. But there's a catch: the
aforementioned networks claim that Dish breached their respective
contracts, which state that Dish does not have the right to use
technology that removes commercials.
If that's the case, one has to wonder how Dish's lawyers could
allow the company to proceed with the Hopper.
Win or lose, one thing is for certain: the satellite provider
is getting a
of free press for this. And right now, the networks look like the
bad guy, and Dish -- which aims to make TV viewing more enjoyable
-- looks like a hero.
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