Media

Fox wants courts to ban Dish’s Hopper DVR features until trial

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Broadcast TV network Fox is asking U.S. courts to block certain functionality from satellite television service Dish Network’s Hopper DVR box, which allows Dish subscribers to automatically skip commercial interruptions with a single button.

Fox, along with NBCUniversal and CBS, initially filed a lawsuit against Dish back in May. The broadcast TV companies alleged that Dish violated content licensing agreements by allowing its customers to block out advertising, which is their primary source of revenue, and by automatically recording all prime-time programs from the major networks.

Reuters is reporting that Fox is now asking the courts to forbid Dish from offering these two functions on its Hopper box until a verdict is reached from the forthcoming trial. The rationale behind Fox’s request is that the company will lose quite a bit of money in the months leading up to said trial.

Unless Fox can prove that it’s losing money, I don’t see the court granting its request. Advertisers typically pay TV networks upfront to air their commercials based on projected audience viewing totals for each time slot. Since Fox isn’t about to pitch its advertisers with lower projected audiences, I doubt it’ll be able to easily prove that Dish’s commerical-skipping Hopper box is hurting its profits in the short-term.

As for the automatically recording prime time programming, I also think Fox will have a hard time proving that Dish is violating content licensing — in part due to Barry Diller-run Aereo TV’s recent legal win against the networks.

Kangaroo photo via Dave Mitchell/Shutterstock;