US judge rules in favor of Dish’s ad-skipping DVR, essentionally says skipping TV ads is legal… for now

adskipping

A Los Angeles US federal judge has ruled that Dish’s Hopper DVR, which features the ability to skip commercials, can remain on the market while litigation proceeds. Fox Broadcasting, along with other networks, have been heavily pushing to have the DVR put off the market due to its “place-shifting” features.

Fox in particular argued that what Dish is doing is actually just piracy, since Dish is violating copyright by taking Fox’s signal and re-transmitting it online. The judge that ruled in favor of Dish sees the case as being more nuanced than that, hence the ruling that the Hopper DVR can remain on the market. The ruling doesn’t explicitly put Dish out of legal waters but the past four legal decisions regarding Dish and their ad-skipping technology have so far all been in their favor, so the odds are looking good for consumers that enjoy the ability to skip TV ads.

But as convenient as the feature sounds, do the networks have good reason to be miffed? Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime feature allows customers to save primetime shows and view them on other devices, commercial-free, for up to eight days. Without the eight-day requirement, does that sound close enough to actual piracy? Does Fox have a point about violated copyright in this case? Also, what effect does this ruling have on blocking ads on other devices, such as on your computer? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

[via Ars Technica]

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2 comments

  1. Seamus McSeamus

    Broadcasters don’t really care that people are skipping commercials, they care that people are skipping commercials without paying them for the privilege. That’s the angle; to get a piece of the pie for themselves. If they win this, in the future there will be some sort of added fee to unlock the ability to skip commercials. Paid to the broadcast networks, of course. Without paying the fee, your fancy DVR will essentially be a recorder without any ability to manipulate the playback.