| Sept 18
Sept 18 A Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday
denied American Broadcasting Companies Inc request to
stop Dish Network Corp from selling devices that let
viewers skip commercials when watching primetime broadcast
ABC had claimed that allowing Dish's Hopper system to remain
on the market while a lawsuit between the two goes forward would
cause ABC irreparable harm by threatening its ability to
generate advertising revenue and disrupting its exclusive rights
to control its programming.
U.S. District Judge Laura Swain said she would make public
her reasoning for denying ABC's request after the parties have a
chance to address whether certain portions of the decision
should remain sealed.
In July, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also refused
to shut down sales of the Hopper in a similar case brought
against Dish by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.
Introduced last year, Dish's DVR-like device contains the
feature "AutoHop," which allows subscribers to skip commercials
entirely when they watch recorded shows, drawing the ire of the
major broadcast television owners.
In the New York lawsuit, ABC is alleging that Dish's system
violates both copyrights to its programming and an agreement
between the companies that allows the satellite provider to
distribute ABC programming.
Swain's order Wednesday also denied a motion by Dish to
dismiss certain claims brought against it in the same lawsuit by
CBS is claiming that Dish should have provided details about
the Hopper's features during contract negotiations between the
two companies in December 2011.
Dish had argued that it had no duty to give CBS a "sneak
preview" of its new system.
A spokeswoman for CBS said the company is pleased with
today's decision. "The ruling allows us to show in trial what
Dish knew and what Dish said it knew are two absolutely
different things and give reason to unwind a deceptive
Analysts have said Dish was using its Hopper DVR as a way to
fight back against retransmission fees, which are payments cable
and satellite companies pay to broadcast stations to carry their
Representatives for Dish and ABC were not immediately
available to comment.
The case is Dish Network v. American Broadcast Companies
Inc, et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New
York, No. 12-4155.