In May 2012 a series of lawsuits were filed against Dish Network by broadcast networks CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox over Dish Network's Hopper feature. Hopper allows viewers automatically to skip through television advertisements when watching programmes recorded using digital video recorders and avoid messages from advertisers that have paid for the slots.

In connection with that suit, Fox is now seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the Dish Network from offering this feature, along with another feature called PrimeTime Anytime(and its AutoHop feature), arguing that such features cause fewer advertisers to buy commercials or cause advertisers to pay less for what they buy, costing Fox revenue and destroying the model on which free television relies and ratings for avertisements are calculated.

Dish in turn is arguing that Fox is wrong and that its fears are unfounded.

The case is important because it puts technology at the centre of a serious battle between what Dish believes consumers want and what Fox believes is essential to a healthy business environment.

For further information on this topic please contact Joseph I Rosenbaum or Frederick Lah at Reed Smith LLP by telephone (+1 212 521 5400), fax (+1 212 521 5450) or email (jrosenbaum@reedsmith.com or flah@reedsmith.com).

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