Satellite-TV service Dish Networks has won another court fight over its “Hopper” technology, a DVR that allows viewers to fast-forward through commercials, after a New York court refused to issue an injunction shutting down the service.
In a ruling issued on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Laura Swain denied ABC’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Hopper. The reasons for her decision are under seal at the request of the parties, but will likely be published later this month.
The ruling is a new blow for broadcasters who have portrayed the Hopper as a mortal threat to their business since it permits consumers to record shows and then skip over entire commercial sets when they watch them later.
This is the second recent court victory for Dish. In July, a unanimous federal appeals court in California declared that the ad-skipping tool is legal under copyright law.
ABC filed the New York suit in November, shortly after Dish won an initial ruling in California. It can still seek a permanent injunction or appeal this week’s ruling.
The new decision comes amid an ongoing shift in the way consumers watch TV, as viewers are growing accustomed to watch shows when and where they want. The broadcasters have tried, and so far failed, to persuade courts that recording primetime or large blocks of content is a violation of copyright.
ABC and the other broadcasters may have a glimmer of hope, however, as courts are still examining whether they can use contract law to require distributors to show the ads.
Here’s the two-page ruling:
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