Dish Network‘s (NASDAQ:DISH) new ad-skipping digital video recording (DVR) service has drawn the legal wrath of broadcasters.
On Thursday, Comcast‘s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC, CBS (NYSE:CBS) and News Corp.’s (NASDAQ:NWSA) Fox filed suit against Dish in a Los Angeles court, claiming that the ad-skipping technology, called AutoHop, would destroy the business model of broadcast TV.
The satellite TV service provider responded with a lawsuit of its own, naming all of the above and Walt Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) ABC network, requesting that the court affirm the legality of the ad-skipping DVR service.
There’s no legal question that consumers can choose to skip over commercials when viewing programs recorded on their DVRs, or cut them out completely. However, the broadcasters’ lawsuit hinges on whether a TV content provider can do that for consumers, the Associated Press noted.
The broadcasters say Dish controls the ad-skipping service, thus breaching their licensing agreements. Dish argues that its subscribers control the service.
Introduced in May, and included in Dish’s new DVR set-top box, marketed as the “Hopper,” the service allows premium Dish subscribers to watch TV shows from the major broadcast networks, recorded during the past week, without the commercial breaks that accompanied them.
Broadcasters immediately denounced the service. Shares of Dish Network were flat in early Friday trading.