A New York judge on Wednesday dealt the networks a blow in their battle to stop Dish Networks and its ad-skipping AutoHop technology.
A suit filed by Fox, which seeks to ban the feature Dish debuted May 10, was delayed until July 2 by U.S. District Judge Laura T. Swain.
She granted Dish's request for a temporary restraining order, ruling that Fox, along with NBC and CBS, must show cause on that date why their suits should proceed while Dish's request for a declaratory judgment that its AutoHop feature does not violate copyright laws is heard.
Dish filed its suit last Thursday in New York, hours before Fox filed its suit in Los Angeles. NBC and CBS then followed with their own suits against Dish hours later in Los Angeles.
Dish evp and general counsel R.Stanton Dodge issued a statement applauding the ruling.
“We’re pleased that the New York federal court has entered a TRO against Fox until the NewYork court decides whether the suits filed by Foxs, CBS and NBC in California should be enjoined in favor of Dish's suit in New York. Dish looks forward to presenting its case and prevailing on the merits.”
In its suit, Dish said it was suing because "the major television networks have threatened it with litigation" intended to stifle AutoHop.
Dish, the nation's third-largest pay-television provider, contends that the AutoHop technology is like a more advanced form of fast-forwarding. With the touch of a button, viewers can decide not to watch the ads on recorded shows that aired the day before.
But the networks say AutoHop is a threat to ad-supported television.
In its lawsuit, Fox said Dish's "PrimeTime Anytime" service — which includes the AutoHop feature — is a "bootleg broadcast video-on-demand service" that "makes an unauthorized copy of the entire primetime broadcast for all four major networks every night."
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.