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Dish Network remains in court over ad-skipping feature, decides to put up its feet and stay a while

The Hopper – or Haw-pah, as the Bostonian brogues pronounce it in the service’s TV commercials – has been the subject of court proceedings for the last few months, as Dish Network defends a slate of new features that includes “AutoHop” and “PrimeTime Anytime,” both automated commercial-skipping technologies that it now includes on the boxes.

Back in November, Federal District Court Judge Dolly Gee (whom we have the unshakable desire to refer to as Golly Gee) denied the Fox Broadcasting Company’s request for a preliminary injunction, but Fox quickly filed appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

That case is still pending, but should Dish prevail, the big four are still expected to batter the company with further litigation. The broadcast networks appear unified behind Fox’s contention that Hopper’s ad-eliminating tech will irreparably harm their respective businesses.

It would be an easier case for the networks to make if they hadn’t already lost a similar proceeding against the initial iteration of DVR. The argument that auto-skipping commercials – which most folks would fast-foward through anyway – somehow poses a an existential threat to the networks, is a weak one. More than likely, this case is just a facet of their scorched earth campaign, which directs a legal bombardment at anything that even remotely alters television’s status quo.

Meanwhile, Dish Network asserts it is simply looking out for its customers’ best interests.  What’s more, the company isn’t stopping with ad-skipping. According to statements made at CES 2013, the company intends to  follow the lead of consumers’ “full blown sprint” to mobile viewing with plans to add Sling functionality and recorded content uploading to iPads within the year. 

Stay tuned for details on the case, and on related court proceedings.

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