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Fox Broadcasting and Dish Network have finally come to an agreement to settle a bitter lawsuit over the ad-skipping, place-shifting Hopper.
On Wednesday, court papers were filed stipulating to a dismissal, marking the end of a legal battle that has lasted nearly four years and resulted in judicial guidance on newer uses of copyrighted programming. Although neither Fox nor Dish have revealed the full terms of their deal, the agreement also potentially signals a bigger breakthrough in renewal of a carriage agreement. But the parties aren’t yet commenting on that.
Asked about the filing, Fox confirmed the deal would resolve all disputes over Slingbox technology and the AutoHop. A spokesperson added, “As part of the settlement, Dish’s AutoHop commercial-skipping functionality will not be available for owned and affiliated Fox stations until seven days after a program first airs.”
In 2012, Fox was among several big broadcasters that went to court to stop what it saw as an unlicensed video-on-demand service thanks to Hopper’s massive storage capacity and ability to skip ads.
The case went all the way up to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed a denial of an injunction. Back at the district court, Dish scored many victories on the copyright front while losing some on the contract end.
The parties neared a trial, but agreed to pause the litigation in January 2015. At the time, the parties had come to a carriage deal concerning Fox News and told the judge that it was highly likely that negotiations of the renewal of their 2010 carriage agreement for the broadcast network would resolve the lawsuit. Such license negotiations precipitated deals between Dish and the other broadcasters.
Nevertheless, it took more than a year to come an agreement. The deal cancels a trial that was scheduled to happen in September.
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