Public Knowledge Puts Support for Dish in Legal Hopper


Public Knowledge, which has lent moral support to Dish's Hopper ad-skipping DVR, the target of a suit by Fox, has added its legal support as well.

The group filed an amicus brief Monday with a California district court asking it to deny Fox's request that the court step in to put a stopper on the Hopper.

"Fox may have sued Dish, but its real target is the wallet of the ordinary television viewer," Public Knowledge said in its brief. "It wants to take away the home recording rights that all viewers enjoy, so that it can sell back to them the ability to watch programs on demand...This Court must reject Fox's attempt to assert rights it does not have."

Fox has sought a preliminary injunction, claiming, along with other broadcasters, that it violates copyrights, breaches contracts, and, if the Hopper is left to auto-hop over the commercials, threatens the business model that allows it to deliver its high-value content to DISH and other distributors.

Dish asserts it has added an innovative feature to the DVR in service of a consumer who wants what they want when they want it.

Public Knowledge agrees. "Fox has argued that skipping commercials ought to be against the law. But viewers have the same rights today as they did in 1984, when the Supreme Court said that recording programs with a VCR is a 'fair use' of copyrighted content," it told the court. "Fox has not supported its claim for preliminary injunctive relief, and has not met its burdens. This Court should deny its motion."