RPT-UPDATE 1-Dish says judge rejects Fox move to block AutoHop

Wed Nov 7, 2012 7:18pm EST

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LOS ANGELES Nov 7 (Reuters) - A judge in Los Angeles has rejected a bid by Fox Broadcasting Company to block Dish Network's AutoHop feature that allows users to skip commercials, Dish said on Wednesday.

TV networks worry that Dish's AutoHop feature will undermine the advertising revenue that is their key source of funding to produce shows. Fox had asked for a court injunction to block the feature.

District Judge Dolly Gee rejected Fox's request, according to a statement from Dish Network, the satellite television provider run by billionaire Charles Ergen.

"Dish is gratified that the court has sided with consumer choice and control," Dish Executive Vice President and General Counsel Stanton Dodge said in a statement.

AutoHop lets users play back commercial-free versions of certain primetime shows they record from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

Fox, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, said it will appeal the ruling. "Dish is marketing and benefiting from an unauthorized (video on demand) service that illegally copies Fox's valuable programming," the company said.

Fox also said it won a partial victory because the court "found the copies Dish makes for its AutoHop service constitute copyright infringement." Dish responded that customers using the service cannot be liable for copyright infringement.

The ruling remains under seal to give both sides time to remove confidential trade information, Dish said.

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