US court battle breaks out as TV networks sue over ad skipping technology

The New York Times reports on the court case involving the largest satellite broadcaster in the US, the Dish Network, and three TV networks over ad skipping technology that could cost commercial broadcasters millions of dollars in lost revenues.

The two parties have filed opposing lawsuits in a US court. CBS, Fox and the NBC networks are suing over technology called Auto Hop, which allows Dish Network subscribers to skip all the ads during most prime-time shows.

The three are arguing copyright infringement and in response Dish has brought a counter suit arguing there is no infringement.

While the technology has been around for a while it hadn’t previously been offered to consumers that could now all change with serious ramifications for the future of commercial TV.

The owner of the NBC network, NBCUniversal, said in a statement that the feature was “unlawful.”

“Dish simply does not have the authority to tamper with the ads from broadcast replays on a wholesale basis for its own economic and commercial advantage,” the company said.

Around the same time the networks were filing their suits in California, Dish was filing its suit in New York. The distributor asked for a ruling that Auto Hop “does not infringe any copyrights that could be claimed by the major networks, and that Dish, while providing the Auto Hop feature, remains in compliance with its agreements with the networks,” according to a news release from the company, the New York Times reports.