Fox, NBCUniversal, and CBS are not pleased with Disk Networks new software called “Hopper” a program that allows shows which have been DVR’d to auto skip commercials if the show is not watched on the day of broadcast.
According to those three broadcast networks the new DVR technology is a violation of their copyrights and puts their quality programming in danger by underscoring advertisements which still make up a bulk of their programming revenue.
In answering the lawsuit Dish Network has filed a countersuit against the three networks and ABC in order to establish the legality of an advertisement skipping piece of software.
In filing the lawsuit executives at Fox said of the decision:
“We were given no choice but to file suit against one of our largest distributors, Dish Network, because of their surprising move to market a product with the clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.”
That statement is similar to CBS chief Les Moonves‘ own comments, he recently called the Hopper program an “…attack on our ecosystem.” While Mooves has called the program “illegal” there has never been a precedent establishing the legality of such programs.
In their own court filing Dish Network says:
“This case is about freedom of consumer choice, individual families’ choice to elect, if they want, to time-shift their television viewing and watch recorded television without commercials.”
Disk Network points out that commercials are not ignored or deleted but rather the Hopper program gives users the option to skip commercials they would like ignore or fast forward through anyways.
The Hopper multi-room DVR system was released for use on May 10 and it is only currently available to PrimeTime Anytime service customers.
In the meantime Fox has already refused to air any Dish Network commercials that feature the Hopper service.