In May, a series of lawsuits were filed against Dish Network by the broadcast networks — CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox — over Dish Network’s Hopper feature. Hopper allows viewers to automatically skip through television commercials on their DVR recorded programs and avoid messages from advertisers who have paid for commercial announcements. In connection with that suit, Fox is now seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the Dish Network from offering that feature, along with another feature called PrimeTime Anytime(and its AutoHop feature), arguing that such features cause fewer advertisers to buy commercials or to pay less for what they buy, therefore costing Fox revenue, and destroying the model upon which free television relies and ratings for commercials are calculated. Dish has responded that Fox is all wrong and that the fears expressed by Fox were unfounded. As reported in the press, this case is important because it puts technology in the center of a serious battle between what Dish believes consumers want and what Fox believes is essential to a healthy business environment.
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