• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
MAR
18
1 years

Dish Network Responds to Fox's Latest Attempt Shut Down Its Hopper

It's too late to object to TV space-shifting technology, says the defendant.

In reaction to Fox Television's amended lawsuit that presents Dish Network's Hopper with Sling as dangerous to the TV industry, Dish argues that the broadcaster's claims have come too late.

After Dish showed off its latest ad-skipping, place-shifting DVR at this year's CES, Fox made a new attempt to gain an injunction, saying the satcaster didn't have a right to make copies of Fox programs to watch "on the go."

Now Dish filed its opposition to the motion.

According to Dish's filing late Friday: "Fox’s inaction for the better part of a decade destroys any notion of irreparable harm, and its licenses in the meantime make clear that any damages for a purported breach of contract can be readily calculated. Fox’s knowing acquiescence while Dish spent hundreds of millions of dollars tips the balance of hardships decisively to Dish. The public interest demands that the million consumers already in possession of Sling devices be permitted to enjoy this transformative technology."

The Slingbox, which allows consumers to remotely view their cable or satellite TV feed, has been around since 2005. Since that time, the technology has provoked a lot of conversation about its legality yet, up until now, not much courtroom activity.

In 2007, Dish's predecessor EchoStar purchased Sling Media for $380 million.

Dish now argues that if broadcasters had an objection, they had a legal obligation to bring it forward sooner. Besides arguing that Sling makes a transformative fair use right of copyrights, the company also asserts Fox can't now base an injunction request over the technology.

According to the filing, "Fox slept while Dish and its competitors rolled out devices aimed at 'space shifting.' "

Here's Dish's full opposition to the injunction motion.

Dish's papers also cite arguments made by Fox's lawyers at the 2nd Circuit (in the Aereo appeal) and by Fox's executives in internal emails. The paper also say the Copyright Office "endorsed" Sling in 2008 after hearings on whether the Copyright Act’s scheme of compulsory statutory licenses was
adequate to keep pace with emerging technology.

Separately, in another Hopper lawsuit, a judge granted NBCUniversal's motion to transfer a lawsuit from New York to California. So ABC and CBS will be together fighting in a New York federal court, while Fox and NBC will be litigating in separate cases in a California federal court.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner