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Contract dispute lawsuit between Fox and Dish Network

A lawsuit between Fox television and Dish Network Corp. will move forward without a preliminary injunction, according to a recent ruling from a U.S. District Court judge in California. The suit was filed by Fox and alleges a number of contract dispute issues in the network's agreement with Dish regarding the satellite company's use of an ad-skipping digital video recorder.

Fox requested a preliminary injunction that would prohibit use of the equipment as the lawsuit moves forward. However, the denial of that request will allow Dish to continue offering the recorders until or unless the court decides otherwise. At the heart of the battle is the use of Dish's recording service that allows users to skip past advertisements.

Fox argues that the service allows for the illegal reproduction of Fox programming. In addition, an argument is made that the automation of ad-skipping takes some revenue away from the network. Dish, however, asserts that their newest offering simply allows customers to more easily accomplish what they already use their own DVRs to achieve: skipping past ads to get to their desired broadcasting.

The ultimate outcome of this California case will likely affect the manner in which other television programming providers offer products and services to their consumer base. As technology widens the range of possibilities, consumers have greater choices than ever before. Contract dispute litigation such as this can be viewed as the manner in which the law attempts to keep pace with technology. Each new ruling will help to mold and clarify the way that companies can offer services while adhering to their existing business agreements.

Source: The Washington Post, "California judge rejects preliminary injunction of Dish's ad-skipping Hopper DVR," Nov. 7, 2012

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