UPDATE, 2:43 PM: Dish Network is taking the court decision in stride. “Regardless of the venue, we look forward to proceeding with this case,recognizing that it has been 28 years since the Supreme Court’s “Betamax” decision held that a viewer, in the privacy of their home, could record a television show to watch later,” General Counsel R. Stanton Dodge says. “The Court ruled that ‘time-shifting’ constituted a fair use of copyrighted television programming. Those Betamax users could permissibly fast-forward through commercials on recorded shows – just as DVR users do today. Dish will stand behind consumers and their right to skip commercials, something they have been doing since the invention of the remote control.”
PREVIOUS, 1:06 PM: U.S. District Court Judge Laura Swain in New York has ruled that there can be two tracks for the legal battle pitting Dish Network against Fox, CBS, and NBCUniversal. The broadcasters can proceed with their copyright infringement and breach of contract cases against Dish’s Hopper DVR at a U.S. District Court in California. Meanwhile, her court will hear some of Dish’s arguments about whether the AutoHop feature — which jumps past ads in shows recorded off the broadcast networks — simply automates what DVR users already do manually with their remote controls. Fox says that “as the true victim and plaintiff here” it plans to “move on to the real issue at hand — demonstrating that Dish Network has created and marketed a product with the clear goal of breaching its license with Fox, violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television business — which damages not only Fox and the other major networks, but also the hundreds of local stations around the country. We look forward to trying and winning the case on its merits.” Just hours before the broadcasters filed their suits in May, Dish asked the New York court for a declaratory judgement that says the ad-skipping feature is legal. Swain issued a temporary restraining order on the broadcasters while she weighed which court should get first crack at the case.