Judge Rules Against Fox Copyright Claims in Dish Autohop Lawsuit

The 63-page ruling favors Fox on distribution

A U.S. judge has rejected portions of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s lawsuit asking to stop Dish Network Corp from selling devices that allow viewers to skip over commercials.

In a decision that was made public on Tuesday, Los Angeles U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee rejected copyright claims that Fox had made over Dish’s digital recording device, the Hopper.

Gee cited June’s U.S. Supreme Court decision against video streaming company Aereo Inc., stating that Dish’s “sling” technology, which lets viewers watch programs on different mobile devices, did not infringe Fox copyrights.

But, Gee allowed Fox to pursue some claims on whether Dish violated a contract governing distribution of Fox programming.

Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said in a statement on Tuesday that the company welcomed the ruling, and was disappointed by her copyright findings.

“This case is not, and has never been, about consumer rights or new technology,” Grogin said. “It’s always been about protecting creative works from being exploited without permission.”

Dish also issued a statement saying it welcomed the ruling. “Consumers are the winners today, as the court sided with them on the key copyright issues in this case,” it stated.

The 63-page decision is dated Jan. 12 and had been under seal

CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC settled similar litigation last year, allowing Dish to broadcast the networks’ programs.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.