U.S. District Court Judge Laura Swain apparently wants first crack at deciding whether to take charge of this potentially important case: She issued a temporary restraining order today that requires Fox, CBS, and NBCUniversal to wait at least until she holds a hearing on July 2 before they proceed with their copyright infringement and breach of contract cases against Dish in California. The satellite company beat the broadcasters to the punch last week: It asked the New York court for a declaratory judgement that says the ad-skipping feature in Dish’s Hopper DVR is legal just hours before the broadcasters filed their suits at a U.S. District Court in California. “DISH looks forward to presenting its case and prevailing on the merits,” says Dish General Counsel R. Stanton Dodge. And Fox says that “we look forward to making our case in court against Dish for copyright infringement and breach of contract.” Dish contends that its ad-skipping feature simply automates things that DVR users can already do. The broadcasters say it’s a departure from the norm that could undermine free TV. Swain was appointed to the court by President Clinton in 2000.
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