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Charlie Ergen’s plans for users unrestricted use of their Sling Media/Dish ‘Hopper’ devices received another court approval on January 24th. Notably, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit “unanimously” threw out Fox Broadcasting’s appeal to re-open the court’s earlier (July 2013) decision in favour of Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop features on the receiver.
The decision permits users to record network TV shows, and to keep them on the unit’s hard drive for up to 8 days. The Autohop feature then allows the play-back (from the following day) of the show without commercial interruptions.
“With this decision, the Court continues to reject Fox’s efforts to deny our customers’ access to PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop – key features of the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR. This is a victory for American consumers, and we are proud to have stood by their side in this important fight over the fundamental rights of consumer choice and control,” said Dish EVP/General Counsel, R. Stanton Dodge.
Fox, and the other three main US networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), has been grumbling for some years about Dish’s device. “We are disappointed in the decision but recognise that preliminary injunctions are rarely overturned on appeal. That said, the ruling was based on a factual record from more than a year ago,” Fox said in a statement. “Now that we have gathered more evidence, we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on all of our claims.”
In other words this particular fat lady has not yet stopped singing. The networks see protection of their prime-time output, as well the advertisers who pay for the output, as worth fighting for.