A California judge has ruled against Fox in its attempt to block an automatic commercial-skipping feature on Dish Network's Hopper DVR. Fox, as well as CBS and NBC, sued Dish back in May over Auto Hop, which lets viewers watch recorded primetime shows without commercials after 1AM the following day. The Hollywood Reporter broke news of the preliminary injunction refusal, later confirmed by Fox in a statement; according to the broadcaster, however, the judge hasn't let Dish off the hook entirely.
"As reported, the court denied Fox's request for a preliminary injunction. But we are gratified the court found the copies DISH makes for its AutoHop service constitute copyright infringement and breach the parties' contract. We are disappointed the court erred in finding that Fox's damages were not suitable for a preliminary injunction. We intend to appeal that portion of the court's decision, as well as the court's separate findings concerning the PrimeTime Anytime service. DISH is marketing and benefitting from an unauthorized VOD service that illegally copies Fox's valuable programming."
The case file is still sealed, so we're not yet able to determine exactly to what extent the judge found Dish to have infringed copyright — and, unsurprisingly, Fox plans to appeal against the injunction decision. For now, though, it doesn't look like the broadcaster will be able to stop Dish subscribers using Auto Hop any time soon.