Dish Demands N.Y. Jury Trial Against ABC Over Auto Hop (Exclusive)

Legal fight with CBS, Fox and NBC playing out in California, but Dish faces off with ABC in New York

Dish Network is demanding a New York jury trial in its dispute with ABC over the satellite provider's ad-skipping Auto Hop feature.

A New York federal judge ordered July 9 that the dispute over Auto Hop would play out mostly in California. CBS, NBC and Fox sued Dish in California on May 24, the same day Dish sued them and ABC in New York. 

Also read: Legal Fight Over Auto Hop Set for California — Mostly

The judge's ruling this month that the CBS, Fox and NBC case would be argued on the West Coast also permitted the portions of the suit involving ABC to remain in New York. The reason was that ABC, unlike the other networks, did not sue Dish in California. Instead, it filed a counter-claim against Dish in New York.

That handed Dish a bicoastal fight. In the one on the East Coast, it demanded the jury trial in a no-frills motion Monday.

In the filing, Dish also denied several claims by ABC that it had violated its copyrights by creating, in essence, an "unauthorized, commercial-free, on-demand service." It responded to about three dozen claims from ABC with the dry response, "Dish denies the allegations."

The networks claims that Auto Hop, which allows subscribers to watch previously aired, primetime network shows with no ads, is a threat to traditional ad-supported TV. Dish contends that it is essentially a more advanced version of fast forwarding.

In prepared testimony to Congress last month, Dish Charlie Egren made another novel case for Auto Hop, saying, according to the Washington Post, that it allowed parents to protect their kids from "commercials for junk food and alcohol.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.