CBS is going backwards to try to take its legal battle with Dish Network forward. The network today filed paperwork (read it here) in federal court in the hopes of pursuing new fraudulent concealment and inducement counterclaims against Dish and its AutoHop service. CBS says Tuesday that it would have never signed a January 2012 Retransmission Agreement with Dish if it had known the broadcast satellite provider intended to introduce the ad-skipping AutoHop feature to its subscribers later in the year. In fact, the network includes emails from its execs to Dish during the late 2011 negotiations stating that CBS was not “looking to have this arrangement include new businesses that DISH may choose to enter into in the future, whether they be Netflix-like businesses, new mobile services, or other new platforms.” By Dish not saying anything about the proposed Autohop feature after this exchange, CBS says the company committed deceit.
“If DISH had requested from CBS the right to offer its subscribers the programming carried through the CBS Broadcast Signal with all commercials automatically removed from what DISH subscribers would see, that would have fundamentally altered the basic economics and nature of the Retransmission Agreement. Indeed, at the time the Retransmission Agreement was negotiated, DISH knew that CBS would not have been willing to enter into the Retransmission Agreement if CBS had been aware that DISH would attempt to use its limited access to the CBS Broadcast Signal as a vehicle for offering CBS’s primetime programming to DISH subscribers on an on-demand, commercial-free basis,” says the 101-page Amended Counterclaims.
Introduced in May by Dish, AutoHop allows subscribers to leap past commercials in programs that have been recorded off network TV the day before. CBS’ filing is in the case that Dish put in front of New York federal court in May as it sought a judgment on whether its ad-skipping feature is legal. Fox, CBS and NBC all filed copyright infringement suits against the satcaster soon afterwards. Fox is currently appealing the denial of its request for a preliminary injunction against Dish by a federal judge in California in early November last year.
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