Judge's Ruling Suggests Dish's Autohop Likely To Survive

DISH network has removed the redacted words from federal Judge Dolly Gee's ruling last week denying Fox Broadcasting Co. a preliminary injunction that would have halted its distribution of DVRs that automatically skip commercials on previously recorded shows. If her remarks serve as any barometer of the case, the outlook for Fox succeeding in its claim that the AutoHop (or Hopper) technology infringes on its copyrights may be grim. Gee noted that it is the user of the DVR, not DISH, who determines whether the commercials should be skipped and that Fox cannot claim that the user has any intention of distributing Fox's content. In her ruling Judge Gee also found that AutoHop could not be considered a video-on-demand transmission. In a statement, DISH noted that Judge Gee's decision upheld DISH's position that the technology is, as the judge's ruling put it, 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.


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