Judge rejects Fox injunction against Dish Network AutoHop DVR

The AutoHop kangaroo escapes Fox... for now.
The AutoHop kangaroo escapes Fox... for now.

Dish Network's AutoHop DVR feature has dodged a preliminary injunction brought by the Fox Broadcasting Company, even though the judge sees its ad-skipping technology as "copyright infringement."

"The court denied Fox's request for a preliminary injunction," Fox told TechRadar.

"But we are gratified the court found the copies Dish makes for its AutoHop service constitute copyright infringement and breach the parties' contract."

Dish Network, meanwhile, issued a press release about the injunction's defeat, saying that "today's ruling is a victory for common sense and customer choice."

Hopper DVR's disputed technology

In addition to Dish's controversial commercial-skipping AutoHop feature, the company offers a the all-encompassing PrimeTime Anytime feature.

PrimeTime Anytime allows users to automatically record all primetime shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, then save the episodes for up to eight days.

The package is marketed as The Hopper DVR, and what Dish Network calls the "most advanced whole-home HD DVR."

But it also has the dubious distinction of being the most lawsuit-targeted DVR on the market, drawing separate lawsuits from NBC and CBS in addition to the one from Fox Broadcasting.

AutoHopping to the inevitable appeal

Fox said that it was disappointed that the court "erred" in finding that Fox's damages were not suitable for a preliminary injunction.

However, the broadcaster doesn't plan on accepting the decision by Judge Dolly Gee of the United States District Court, Central District of California.

"We intend to appeal that portion of the court's decision, as well as the court's separate findings concerning the PrimeTime Anytime service."

At issue is proving that Fox has suffered an irreparable financial impact from this new technology.

As Dish Network pointed out in its release, "Fox has not established that is has suffered irreparable harm as a result of DISH's making the quality assurance copies."

Via Dish

Matt Swider