Fox hits back at Dish in AutoHop bout

Sat Feb 2, 2013 11:41am EST

(Reuters) - Fox Network made a fresh attack on Dish Network Corp over the No. 2 U.S. satellite TV company's ad-skipping technology and related PrimeTime Anytime appeal.

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

"Dish's colorful allusions, over-the-top mockery, and baseless accusations that Fox is attempting to relitigate the 30-year-old Sony case have one purpose: To draw the Court's attention away from the fact that Dish is directly infringing Fox's copyrights and breaching its license agreement with Fox," Fox said in a statement on Thursday.

In November last year, a Los Angeles judge denied a bid by Fox Broadcasting Company to block Dish Network's AutoHop feature. Fox appealed and Dish hit back, leading to a war of words.

A legal battle erupted last year between Dish Network and major U.S. broadcast networks over Dish's Hopper DVR, which threatens to bring down the television business model by making it possible for viewers to skip over commercials when they watch recorded shows.

"Dish is attracting subscribers by offering them access to an on-demand library of primetime programs which they did not have to record themselves and which can be viewed commercial-free. But Dish could not do this without breaching its license agreement with Fox and infringing Fox's copyrights," Fox said.

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago)

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