In the latest row in the dust-up between broadcasters and Dish over the latter’s commercial-skipping AutoHop feature, Fox claims that its “not interested in re-litigating the Sony case,” referring to the legendary litigation that enshrined the right of end consumers to record TV broadcasts on the then-newfangled VCRs. Where this story gets really wacky, though, is some incredibly dubious claims about secret advertising plots on the part of Dish:
“Dish’s pro-consumer bluster is phony,” Fox said. “Dish is offering commercial-free TV because it helps Dish sell [satellite TV] subscriptions. But behind the scenes, Dish is planning to eventually substitute Fox’s obliterated ads with its own advertisements. The only way to serve the public interest is to protect ad-supported television which fuels the local and national economies, employs thousands and provides millions of Americans with access to quality programming for a fraction of the cost.”
You can understand Fox’s concern about this potential threat to their core business, and personally, and I don’t think AutoHop is long for this world. The best case scenario is probably that it’ll last until the contracts with the major broadcast networks get renewed. The heart of the matter, legally, will likely be not that commercial skipping is available (which was hashed out a long time ago with the advent of DVRs), but that Dish is pushing the button for the end user instead of making them do the work to skip ads.
Regardless, Fox is going to face an uphill battle to prove their giant conspiracy theory about nefarious ad insertion on the part of Dish. Quite frankly, that kind of thing really undermines their case, especially since no ads are obliterated, and this claim runs completely contrary to the way AutoHop works.
Via: [Home Media Magazine]