Dish Network Seeks Cablevision's Help in Battle Against Comcast, News Corp. and CBS
In an effort to fend off multiple lawsuits and prevent its new Hopper feature from being exterminated, Dish Network may enlist in the help of a competitor.
Unofficially, of course. But if this Bloomberg Businessweek report is accurate, the satellite provider may be helped by a 2008 federal appeals court ruling that gave Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) the right to continue providing its customers with DVRs "to record shows without authorization from the networks."
"The ruling enables remote home taping under the control of the customer without copyright violation," Mitch Stoltz, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Bloomberg. "That's the law in New York. The networks are trying to limit that."
That ruling is key because Fox, the News Corp.-owned (NASDAQ: NWSA) TV network, along with CBS (NYSE: CBS) and the Comcast-owned (NASDAQ: CMCSA) NBC, have accused Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) of copyright infringement.
Bloomberg reports that the judges on the appeals court "said playback didn't constitute the transmission of a public performance of a work for which a license would be necessary," which "removes one argument against ad-skipping playback -- namely, that it creates an unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work."
This is good news for Dish. But there's a catch: the aforementioned networks claim that Dish breached their respective contracts, which state that Dish does not have the right to use technology that removes commercials.
If that's the case, one has to wonder how Dish's lawyers could allow the company to proceed with the Hopper.
Win or lose, one thing is for certain: the satellite provider is getting a ton of free press for this. And right now, the networks look like the bad guy, and Dish -- which aims to make TV viewing more enjoyable -- looks like a hero.
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