Fox Appeals to Stop the Hop
LOS ANGELES: Fox’s legal team wasted no time in appealing a federal judge’s
decision last week to let Dish keep on skipping broadcast TV commercials. On
Friday, Fox’s attorneys from Jenner and Block LLP in Los Angeles filed an appeal
with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to reverse
the Nov. 7 decision by Judge Dolly
Gee denying an injunction against Dish for ad-skipping.
Fox, NBC and CBS are all suing Dish over the Hopper, a new set-top box that automatically
skips over ads in primetime broadcast programming. In a closed decision issued last
Wednesday, Judge Gee denied Fox’s request to enjoin the service until a determination
could be made on the underlying charge of copyright infringement.
reports that Fox claims Judge Gee indicated the skipping function to be a
copyright violation, with Dish claiming the opposite. Dish is counter-suing the
networks in New York on the grounds they are conspiring to deny its rights to
air ads about the Hopper’s AutoHop ad-skipping function.
Along with the appeal, Fox also filed a stipulation concerning the confidentiality
of Nielsen data used in the lawsuit, signed by attorneys for the plaintiffs and
the defendant. Dish is being represented by attorneys at Orrick, Herrington
& Sutcliffe LLP. Nielsen data could be used to quantify the impact of
ad-skipping on Fox’s bottom line.
Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of ABC parent company, Disney, said in May that
commercial skipping could lead to the demise of the most popular network shows
because they’re bank-rolled by ad revenue, Investor
Place said. (ABC is the only skipped network that hasn’t filed suit.)
More recently, CBS CEO Les Moonves said the network couldn’t produce shows like
“CSI” without advertising,” the Los
Angeles Times said. Speaking with analysts on a conference call,
Moonves reportedly said that if Dish wanted to pay CBS $5 a subscriber to use
AutoHop, he might consider it.
In a separate legal development, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS are seeking an
injunction against “Aereokiller,” a service that delivers broadcast TV signals
to mobile devices, The
Wrap reports. Aereokiller was originally launched as BarryDriller.com, to compete with and possibly
skew Aereo, the broadcast signal distributor in New York started by Barry
Diller. Diller claims Aereo’s antenna design relinquishes it from having to cut
retransmission deals with TV stations. TV stations in New York are suing.
BarryDriller.com, now Aereokiller,
was started by FilmOn principle and Coca-Cola bottling heir Alki David, who
also claimed retrans-exclusion based on Aereo’s legal position. Diller filed a
complaint in the California court claiming BarryDriller.com
constituted trademark infringement.
~ Deborah D. McAdams