September 18, 2013 12:42pm PT by Eriq Gardner
New York Judge Won't Stop Dish's Ad-Skipping Hopper
On Wednesday, a New York federal judge weighed in on the ongoing copyright and contract fight over Dish's AutoHop, an ad-skipping DVR service that television broadcasters have likened to an unauthorized VOD service that "will ultimately destroy the advertiser-supported ecosystem."
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain has denied ABC's motion for a preliminary injunction. Details about what the judge had to say are under wraps at the moment as the opinion has been filed under seal in order to allow the parties to redact confidential information.
The ruling comes after Fox also struck out at the 9th Circuit in its own bid for an injunction. (Fox has recently requested a rehearing on the matter before a full appellate panel.)
But Judge Swain's ruling isn't a total victory for Dish.
She has also denied the satellite company's motion to dismiss CBS' attempt to unwind its retrans agreement based upon what's alleged to be Dish's fraudulent concealment of material facts during a 2011 negotiation over retrans rights.
In January, CBS amended its complaint against Dish to say that during these negotiations, Dish knew that it was planning on launching the AutoHop but "deliberately chose to conceal this fact from CBS."
In seeking to dismiss, Dish said that an agreement with CBS "was the result of arms-length negotiations between sophisticated parties. DISH made no bones about its continued intention to offer time-shifting technology to its customers."
That part of the ruling was also sealed.
CBS tells THR in a statement that is "pleased" with the ruling. A spokesperson says, "This ruling allows us to show in trial that what Dish knew and what Dish said it knew are two absolutely different things and give reason to unwind a deceptive contract."
All of the major networks are suing Dish. Fox and NBC are engaged in a fight in California while CBS and ABC are dealing with the satellite company in New York.
In its own statement, Dish says the judge's decision to deny an injunction is "another victory for American consumers, and we are proud to have stood by their side in this important fight over the fundamental rights of consumer choice and control."
Although ABC won't get the ability to enjoin AutoHop, it does have a chance to get even soon. Dish's carriage agreement with ABC's parent company, Disney, is set to expire at the end of the month, with the fight over the controversial DVR service in the background of negotiations. Some reports have negotiations not going well, with a possible blackout happening soon.