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Fox Sues Dish Over "Auto Hop" Ad-Skipping Feature

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-think-of-all-the-buggywhip-makers'-widows dept.

Advertising 578

therealobsideus writes "Dish recently announced Auto Hop, giving its customers with the Hopper DVR the ability to 'hop' past commercial break on recordings. In response, Fox has filed suit against Dish in U.S. District Court, seeking to block the technology." The L.A. Times has coverage, too. Fox claims that giving viewers the ability to skip commercials on recorded television shows demonstrates the "clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem."

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And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen! (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105563)

Commercials are mandatory! Any attempt to not view them will result in a law suite!

Next: (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105589)

Browsers that getted sued for having ad blocking features.

Re:Next: (3, Informative)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105683)

Any browser that has a "turn off images" feature sounds like fair game to me. Old Netscape had it, don't know if any modern ones do.

Re:Next: (4, Informative)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105725)

firefox does. It is a godsend for web browsing smoothly over a remote desktop connection.

Re:Next: (3, Interesting)

jouassou (1854178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105737)

What about the surviving console browsers, like links and lynx?

Re:Next: (4, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105771)

also there in Opera Mini, a godsend for web browsing over a feature phone without hitting your 75MB/month cap.

Re:Next: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105931)

Do you mean "they're in Opera Mini"?

Re:Next: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106005)

He could mean "[It's] also there in Opera Mini..."

Re:Next: (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105769)

Oh, I wouldn't be surprised at all. Next thing will be NoScript getting declared the tool of terrorists and child pornographers and banned.

Re:Next: (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105833)

Shhhhhhh, dont give them bad ideas....

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105623)

Next, man sued for getting beer during commercials. The assertive defence is that the beer he was getting was in the commercials, but FOX claims that is a moot point. Budweiser to file amicus curiae brief. Says they do not support suing their own customers.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (5, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105977)

What really makes me wonder what these idiots are smoking is if average Joe gets up and looks for snacks , grabs his wife's boobs, accidentally sharts and has to hit the bathroom, is he violating the contract that makes TV possible?

Why aren't people who pay for cable TV being taxed (so to speak) twice? Once for the subscription and once again for the fucking ads? One of cable TVs big "draws" in the early days was "no commercials..." That didn't last.

Basically we have a bunch of suits who have no idea how stupid they sound... I don't know what's more sad, the idea itself or the actual spreading of the idea... I have this sneaking suspicion no one at Fox (Hey Rupert, suck my crank!) has a voice in their head that tells them "that's a bad idea... keep it to yourself." I imagine they learned about electricity by sticking a fork in a light socket too.

Explains a great many things, I think.. Suffice to say, is there anyone sane left in the entertainment industry? My decision to skip the theater and rental counter is becoming a better and better idea.

I think Joe Sixpack slapped with a lawsuit for getting beer might wake the sheeple up enough to say "what the fuck?" instead of "ooooh. I gotta drop mad bank on a 3D tv so I can experience movies how they were MEANT to be seen! To the Best Buy!"

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105625)

I had a law suite, once. The lease agreement was 249 pages long and I had to pay $500 per hour just to stand in the doorway.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105643)

I had one too. A friend who works for a firm that has a suite at a sports venue, and apparently they didn't have any customers to entertain on a night when WNBA was playing. It was surprisingly entertaining and even better with the free soda and sandwiches...

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105669)

If this is illegal, what the fuck is a DVR? What the fuck is a VCR? Both can be used to circumvent commercials.

Man, I hope they get their ass smacked down for this, just as those other idiots did in the past in the other [wikipedia.org] lawsuits [wikipedia.org] .

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (4, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105805)

I don't see the legal issue with it, but certainly if everyone starts using such a service then advertisers will see no value in it and abandon free-to-air and it will die leaving only paid services. Personally I don't have a problem with that as i never watch free-to-air anyway but i know a lot of people would be unhappy about losing free-to-air.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105837)

Given that quality of TV programming, I fail to see the threat.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105843)

But you will have a problem with that. This isn't about free OTA broadcasts. If this renders commercials moot to the point that no one advertises on TV (free OTA or pay channels) the channels will charge even higher fees for cable and satellite companies to carry their channels. Then cable and satellite channels will no longer be subsidized by ads and will get more expensive.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106003)

Meh, they give me the ability to record programs and skip through the ads anyway, they obviously don't see that as a problem.

You need a lawyer (4, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105909)

Personally I don't have a problem with that as i never watch free-to-air anyway

So not only are you missing the commercials you are missing all the product placements in the program as well? I'd start looking for a lawyer...

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105831)

The funny thing to me is that more and more of even my older customers are just saying 'fuck this!" and doing all their TV watching over the net. All this stupid shit does is give folks one more reason to avoid regular TV. I know that even though I have basic cable (its cheaper where I'm at to get the bundle) I haven't even bothered plugging in my cap card so I can watch it because I can watch anything I want to on the net. if they have a commercial i can just pop over to something else while the BS plays (with the sound off in the mixer) and pop back over when its passed.

I don't know if dish is the same as i've never had it but i know that the one time i used the cable for TV it bugged the living piss out of me, because it seemed like every 5 minutes there was another damned commercial. give up having any tension in the story because they'd cut the thing up with so many commercials that it just sucked. No wonder more and more are getting away from traditional TV. Anybody remember the old days when they use to sell cable as "less commercials and more shows!" than regular TV? man are those days over.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (1, Insightful)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105891)

You are saying you didn't enjoy television viewing interrupted every 5 or 10 minutes with brief playlets and illustrated lectures about the purchase of consumer goods?

Outrageous. What's the world coming to?

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105885)

If this is illegal, what the fuck is a DVR? What the fuck is a VCR? Both can be used to circumvent commercials...

Ah, quite right, but apparently fast-forwarding a commercial at 200x and not being able to see a damn thing vs. being able to skip it altogether and not be able to see a damn thing are worlds apart legally...er, somehow.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (5, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105675)

Just ask ReplayTV how well this works out in the end.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105751)

Also, lets not forget about Apple's patent on software that would basically freeze our device unless we were demonstrably watching the ads they serve to us [nytimes.com] , making us answer questions about products featured and even using the camera to make sure that our eyes are focused on the screen.

How long will it be before we see something similar on anything with a front facing camera? I wonder if Microsoft has plans to build this into their next Kinect? This is where these assholes are going with this, and then they'll bitch and complain when even more people just pirate their shit. God, how ridiculous...

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105845)

And soon after, gaffer tape gets outlawed as a copyright circumvention device.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105895)

I doubt anyone would actually watch TV if they had to do that.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (1)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105899)

Also, lets not forget about Apple's patent on software that would basically freeze our device unless we were demonstrably watching the ads they serve to us [nytimes.com] , making us answer questions about products featured and even using the camera to make sure that our eyes are focused on the screen.

How long will it be before we see something similar on anything with a front facing camera? I wonder if Microsoft has plans to build this into their next Kinect? This is where these assholes are going with this, and then they'll bitch and complain when even more people just pirate their shit. God, how ridiculous...

Ah, you must have seen "A Clockwork Orange".

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (2)

ieatcookies (1490517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105791)

Obviously it's silly to sue someone over this tech, however, if users reduce the value of advertising on television by not watching them then these lost revs will have to be made up elsewhere. And that will likely translate to more direct costs to the user.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105851)

lol it will be like in the 1950 where the commercial will be in the show

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105889)

Be real, who watches ads? Even when watching the few shows I watch religiously every week, where my eyes are glued to the screen during the show, I hardly notice the ads, let alone could tell you which ads I just saw or even come up with some kind of detail, or what product they tried to cram down my throat.

And I'm hardly special in this way. Try it. Go watch TV with your pals, don't tell them before and then, after the show, ask them to come up with five commercial they just saw and offer them 10 bucks if they succeed.

I betcha you won't spend a dime on this experiment.

Re:And dont you DARE close your eyes or not listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105965)

no voiding of bladders during commercials.

I don't think they're violating any laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105565)

The spirit of the laws? Yeah, probably, but I'm just not sure what exactly they're doing that's actually illegal. The user decides whether they want to use the feature, so no one is forcing this upon them.

Re:I don't think they're violating any laws (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105795)

Yes its a computer device with a function in your home. New laws in this area could flow both ways. If data belongs to someone down to the end device, would user data get the same broadcast television protection on any device?
Free on the web "ecosystem" could get very interesting if all you could do is sign up for an encrypted walled garden.
Or spend a few mins on every new website clicking EULA for every cookie, flash cookie, 3rd party script, allowing web 2.0 to deep search every message, txt, email...

Re:I don't think they're violating any laws (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105905)

Not even the spirit of the law. Where does it say anywhere, written or implied, "you have to watch the ads or else it's stealing"?

If there is any "kindred spirit" with copy protection circumvention is to be found, it's that this tool does the same that DVD copying software does: It enables you to fix the artificially introduced value reduction of the content.

Shocking. (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105567)

Whoever didn't see this coming.... can I have your job?

That said... "clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem." *facepalm* The Internet is SUPPOSED to destroy ecosystems built on artificial scarcity. Free markets and black swans are a bitch, aren't they?

Re:Shocking. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105591)

It's funny how the network that claims full support of a free market is filing a lawsuit against the products of a free market.

Re:Shocking. (5, Insightful)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105919)

No one really wants a free market; everyone wants to "level the playing field" - in a direction that completely coincidentally benefits them at the expense of others.

That's not to say that a free market is bad, just that fox is no more and no less hypocritical than most other companies.

Re:Shocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105921)

Commercials are American. Why do you hate America?

Re:Shocking. (1, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105665)

Considering that ReplayTV did this (and died for it) ten years ago, it's definitely not new ground.

Re:Shocking. (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105701)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can Disk be considered a part of the "broadcast television ecosystem"? Don't they have subscribers who pay for the service? Making it more like cable, and therefore not broadcast (at least by my definition of the term)?

As if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105571)

pfffffttttt I somehow for some strange reason do not think that skipping over commercials is considered violating copyrights, sounds like Fox is just mad that they can't milk the consumers for more cash (As if anyone watches commercials these days anyways...).

Re:As if (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105923)

Actually, Fox isn't milking the consumers, they're milking their ad customers (companies, not you. You're the product they're selling). I'm pretty sure Fox knows that nobody watches their ads anymore, but this would make it blatantly obvious.

In other news... (5, Funny)

DubThree (1963844) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105577)

Fox has filed suit against all electronics manufacturers that have installed a fast-forward function on digital media playing device. Audio cassette manufacturers must remove fast-forward and rewind capabilities because users could skip a recorded radio broadcast commercial by flipping the tape, rewinding, then flipping the tape again.

Re:In other news... (2)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105705)

The difference is with fast-forward you still see snippets of the ads, and sometimes people will stop fast-forwarding to go back and look at an add that caught their interest. My former roommate did this way too often.

I can see why Fox is doing this, and they're right about it destroying their TV ecosystem. But I don't care, and I hope they lose.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105781)

I think you missed the joke.

Good (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105579)

Fox claims that giving viewers the ability to skip commercials on recorded television shows demonstrates the "clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem."

Good! Let's tear down that century-old ecosystem, including the business models of those leeches. They're dying anyway. Let's start over from scratch and figure out how we can do it again, this time in ways that don't require stunting technological innovation.

Blah Blah Blah (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105583)

blah blah blah ... social contracts ... blah blah blah ... violating copyright ... blah blah blah

Cry me a river. If they stopped violating the spirit of the rules that were meant to keep a certain amount of content in a given unit of time for a show by calling their ads for their other shows on the their networks content instead of ads, I might not be so upset. Right now there are so many ads that it seems like we get only fifteen minutes of actual programming in a half-hour show. If they will require the ads, I will simply cut back even further on my TV watching.

As for copyright, I don't see any copyright issue. The user is choosing to ignore the portion they do not wish to see, if the commercials are even considered part of the same program by copyright. Which, last I thought, were not.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (1)

waldonova (769039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105757)

Right on with the amount of ads we are exposed to!

Tell you what, Fox. Take all of those bugs off the screen when the show is running and we will consider watching an ad or two. I'd bet that putting those bugs on top of programming is way closer to a copyright violation than an ad skipper.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105969)

It does not seem like that. The average half hour show is only about 17-20 minutes long anymore. The rest is ads and self promotion.

If you have a network that does reruns of old shows (70s/80s), you might come across some odd development, unless of course they cut it down to make room for the ads. What used to be 30 minute shows now last nearly 45 minutes, what used to be 45 minute shows now use up a full hour slot.

Re:Blah Blah Blah (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105975)

Remove the in show popup bubble advertising from the bottom, shit scrolling across the screen, the huge station logo and maybe I'll watch some regular commercials.

How are stations are getting away with playing the ending credits in 3x FF mode in a small section of the screen at the same time as playing the title scene of the next show at the same time in another small section and thirdly showing station ads at the same time in a third small portion of the screen? I'm sure they are contractually obligated to show the ending and beginnings or they would have cut them out all together. What they are doing is probably technically legal per their contracts but sure does not meet the intent if no one can actually see them.

Again copyright law abuse. (5, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105593)

Not watching commercials is NOT violation of copyright.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105707)

Commercials are WHY I rarely watch television anymore. Bad enough we have to tolerate them at all considering the stupidly high monthly cost of cable, but the ultimate annoyance are the overlay adds while the damn show is on. I refuse to watch anything live. I simply let the DVR deal with it. I've become a fastforward Master when the commercials fire up. The day they remove my ability to skip them at all ( like they do with Comcast on demand services ) will be the day I turn in all the hardware required to watch their programming in my home.

I doubt I'll miss it much.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105719)

and "destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem" isn't illegal and shouldn't be illegal.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (5, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105729)

This is actually a case where that Heinlein quote applies perfectly, because the situation is literally the same - a company coming to court and complaining that someone else breaks their business model through innovation.

"There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105747)

Your logic is destroying my business model. Stop it or i will sue.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105763)

Not to mention that Fox doesn't have a copyright on ads that aren't for its own programs. If Dish preserves the TV show, then all they're doing is time-shifting, which has already been established as legal.
 
A tangent: At some point, networks are going to have to realize that the old model is on the way out. Even if they were to somehow win this fight, the result wouldn't matter in a few years. Younger folks will be better served then, too, since the Nielsen ratings favor older and less technologically aware people.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (5, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105765)

Actually recording a broadcast and then editing it to remove undesirable content prior to displaying it and doing so upon a 'commercial' basis, is a violation of copyright. Right now it is possible to create software that can dip into content and swap out product placements and replace them with competitors products ie replace all the cans of coke and coke advertisements in the actual content and replace them with cans of pepsi and pepsi advertisements. It would likely be cheaper for companies to take content and edit in their product placements as they edit out competitors product placements and surreptitiously distribute the edited content than to pay for product placements.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (3, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105839)

Not watching commercials is NOT violation of copyright.

Although...it may be a copyright violation to alter a content that you don't have the right on and was distributed by the others.

To get around, I'd imagine that as long as the recorder stores everything (but allows the user to pick a watching mode in which the ads are skipped) should not be a copyright violation. It would be like a news agent selling a magazine, "enhanced" by himself with an extra list of bookmarks that allows the reader to skip over ads pages.

Re:Again copyright law abuse. (2)

TexVex (669445) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106021)

as long as the recorder stores everything

I don't see how it could be a violation of copyright to fail to copy certain portions of a work, or even to only selectively play back portions of a work. Never mind that the program and the commercials are separate works.

At best, this could be a violation of the contract between Dish and its content providers and advertisers. Moot to the point of this thread: it is a civil matter that has jack to do with copyright.

I hope the judge laughs Fox out of the courtroom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105599)

Fuck you Fox. The only show you have is Family Guy, and that is going downhill fast.

Re:I hope the judge laughs Fox out of the courtroo (2)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105641)

"is going"?

Re:I hope the judge laughs Fox out of the courtroo (1)

Linsaran (728833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105645)

And Simpsons, well, sort of. Simpsons has been going downhill for a while too, but it's still better than 90% of the crap out there.

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105607)

So the format of a TV show, split up with ads interlaced between, is copyrighted? Yea, not seeing it. Guessing web based shows, with 30 second ads stuck in them, would also violate that? Not seeing anyone see over that, since I've seen it on websites that I know Fox doesn't own. Not broadcast, right? So why is broadcast special, other than it's unidirectional?

They may have an argument about network contracts, depending on if ads have any play in that, however, a copyright claim? GTFO!

Quite futile (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105609)

Like all the other attempts to stop technological progress with lawsuits. If they rally manage to squash this one instance, people will just go back to downloading clean recordings again.

Maybe, just maybe, they will learn that they can offer clean recordings themselves, reasonably priced, DRM-free, immediately after broadcast and worldwide. The only way to survive against filesharing is to have a better offering first. Well, some TV makers will get it and some will die. Quite the usual progress whenever a new technology disrupts old and ancient business models.

Right. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105611)

Violating copyrights? I don't think so. . .destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem? HELL YES!

Hold on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105615)

It's a breach of copyright to *not* download something?

Fox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105629)

Oh, fuck off.

Rather than suing... (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105639)

...why not just forbid Dish from carrying their channel?

(Oh, yes, because they can't. Dish's HD DVRs can take an ATSC signal and record from that, and any home that's capable of erecting a satellite dish can erect a normal UHF/VHF antenna too. That's one thing I really rather like about Dish Network.)

Still, they could try, and then Dish subscribers - who don't want to erect an additional antenna - would be denied access to great shows like House, 24, Dollhouse, Terminator: Sarach Connor Chronicles, Firefly, Dark Angel... {insert rest of updated Family Guy skit here}

Re:Rather than suing... (1)

dufachi (973647) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105749)

...why not just forbid Dish from carrying their channel?

(Oh, yes, because they can't. Dish's HD DVRs can take an ATSC signal and record from that, and any home that's capable of erecting a satellite dish can erect a normal UHF/VHF antenna too. That's one thing I really rather like about Dish Network.)

Still, they could try, and then Dish subscribers - who don't want to erect an additional antenna - would be denied access to great shows like House, 24, Dollhouse, Terminator: Sarach Connor Chronicles, Firefly, Dark Angel... {insert rest of updated Family Guy skit here}

I think only one of those shows is still on the air. ;)

Re:Rather than suing... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105813)

You're off by one :)

Re:Rather than suing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105869)

the "one" that you think is still on the air? it just ended it's run this week :)

Legal Grounds (4, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105655)

I understand why Fox and Friends wouldn't like this kind of feature, but what kind of legal ground do they have here? They don't own copyrights on the advertising (well, most of it anyway), and the content they do own (the TV shows) aren't being modified or changed by Dish.

The simple fact that's being reiterated over and over by tech such as commercial-skip and AdBlock is that advertising as a sustainable revenue model is on the way out. At the same time people have started rejecting being shoehorned into the time slots chosen by networks -- most people are willing to pay for their entertainment, but they want to watch it on their own terms, and this also isn't conducive to effective advertising. The sooner content providers realize this, the better off they'll be. The advertising-sponsored entertainment (TV and the Internet primarily) honeymoon is just about over.

Unfortunately for consumers it will probably get worse before it gets better because studios and actors are too accustomed to their over-inflated multi-million dollar salaries. Advertising will become more invasive as it clings for life, and all sorts of litigation will spring up before it finally falls apart. Some forms will always have a place in entertainment (product placement, for example), but eventually consumers will start simply paying for what content they want to consume.

Re:Legal Grounds (1)

therealobsideus (1610557) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105735)

Well, can you even say anything is being modified at all? The commercials are still there but the Hopper just skips past them almost instantly. If you rewind, you see the commercials. The signal itself isn't modified at all.

Re:Legal Grounds (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105901)

A robot that detects the ad starting and presents the users with a few mins of a fitness game, word/number puzzle, the internet or other computer game?
Sell it as a fitness/brain helping lifestyle product.

If only they could meet somewhere... (2)

Pokey.Clyde (1322667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105661)

in the middle. Fox backs of from their idiotic lawsuit, and Dish agrees to quit showing those stupid "Tha hoppa!" commercials.

This happened before with ReplayTV (4, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105673)

This happened a number of years ago when ReplayTV offered a feature that automatically skipped commercials. A bunch of studios sued them. The result was that the new DVRs required the users to press a "scene skip" button on the remote to skip over the commercial break. ReplayTV was later bought by DirectTV.

idiots (0)

Titan1080 (1328519) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105679)

jesus christ fox is SO fucking stupid.

History repeats itself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105689)

Wasn't a similar argument made when VCRs came out by the movie industry?

Arms Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105715)

Yeah, skip ads. Offer people the Cadillac of viewing experiences. That's why all the shows are just product placements. It's like the finest missiles that Raytheon can make are being deployed by both sides. I don't care. I'll just sit back and pop some Orville Reddenbacher.

let me just say: (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105721)

I went years without a TV, so the only time I saw TV was at a hotel, in which case I watched HBO or other premium/ad-free channels. I do own a TV now, but only for netflix streaming. And I occasionally watch Hulu in the browser. So I literally couldn't believe how awful and intrusive the ads were when I was watching the History channel at a hotel a couple weeks ago.

Bunch of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105723)

Recording a show that has commercial is the same as if someone had "seen" those commercial for the tv station, meaning they get paid for that view, so being able to skip them on your recording shouldn't matter, considering the tv station won't get any money from the recording itself.

Fox will lose (1)

dufachi (973647) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105727)

I suspect that Fox will actually lose this in court and when it comes time to renew the contract between Fox and Dish, Fox properties will either no longer be available on Dish or it will be in the contract that their stuff cannot be "hopped".

This is good. (1)

yanom (2512780) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105761)

destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.

Well good. It'll spur change. These old media "ecosystems" need to be torn down.

The failure of your business model... (1)

dbosso (457577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105767)

The failure of your business model is not my problem.

Considering it's Fox........ (5, Funny)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105785)

Is there anyway to skip the content and just watch commercials?

Remember AdNix and PreachNix from Cosmos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105841)

An entrepreneur creates a device that zaps commercials from TV. He's sued and then countersues, winning, and becoming immensely rich. He then improved the offering with a new contraption called PreachNix that deletes religious content.

Needless to say, this was eliminated from that dull, over-earnest film.

Its not that simple (1)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105855)

autohop doesnt just fast forward which is just time shifting which is a common service it also blacks out the screen which is a material alteration
in the programming. Its also not just a "technological feature" its part of a paid satellite service which is essentially competing against broadcast networks with their own product..

Re:Its not that simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106013)

It's a paid satellite service which pays broadcasters for their content and redistributes it to those who pay for it. It's not competing, it's delivering their product to more viewers than would otherwise view them. It's giving them more customers.
It's also viewers choice. It's not like Dish is ramming the autohop down their throats. It's not like they are blanking out commercials and introducing their own... They are just allowing users to say - don't show me this crap that I do not want.

How many people mute their screens when commercials come up? How many hit the jump-forward on their dvrs? Same thing, only manual.

Idiots... they don't have a leg to stand on. Oh - and btw - if you record the show, and want to watch it with commercials, you can. So it's stored with commercials. You just flip a toggle that says don't show this drivel to me please.

No Way (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105877)

They just whine and whine and whine. First they get their panties in a knot if you watch something they don't want you to watch and now they reason that you must be forced to watch something because that is the way they happen to earn money. Not to mention that broadcast TV is so unbearable that nobody wants to watch it any more.

I Hope Fox Wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105881)

While I disagree that it's copyright infringement and all that nonsense, I truly hope Fox wins this lawsuit... If Dish wins, then DirecTV and Cable companies will start offering it also, and channels will need to change their business model to supplement the lost income. This means we'll probably start to see more of the really annoying in-show commercials at the bottom of the screen. Or worse, HD shows will start looking like websites with ads down each side, and the middle with the old standard definition size show.

Copyright == tech I don't like (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105897)

Fox claims that giving viewers the ability to skip commercials on recorded television shows demonstrates the "clear goal of violating copyrights and destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem."

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Just to clear things up. Just because someone comes up with tech you don't like, that doesn't mean that you can claim "copyright violation". If it is okay to record all of it, then it must be okay to record part of it. And before you ask, no you can't file a DMCA takedown notice either.

Oh, and destroying underpinnings is called capitalism. Ask anyone who manufactures buggy whips these days. Oh that's right, automobiles destroyed the buggy industry's underpinnings. I forgot.

I'm a bit confused... (1)

atouk (1336461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40105953)

According to FOX, the viewer skipping the commercials results in the "clear goal of violating copyrights." Even if the broadcast program is considered a protected work from start to finish, inclusive of all content broadcast with it. Isn't FOX implying that they also by extension own the copyright of all the commercials broadcast within a program?

I'm sure the producers of the commercials would have a few things to say about that. Also, might the original producers of programming (movies especially), might consider the insertion of content within their product and copyright asserted to the end result as a whole, a violation of THEIR copyrighted material.

Everybody is missing the fundamental flaw here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105973)

Most advertisers don't pay for time-shifted viewings--i.e. They base advertising off of the numbers a show gets in it's airing. If they do pay, it's at a very reduced rate. The hopper autoskip only works on Time-shifted viewings. As far as the networks are concerned, their viewers would have been counted when it was recorded.

Also, Dish network has to pay OTA broadcast networks for carriage... I.e. What is free to anyone with an antenna costs money to those who want to see it over Satellite. I think this is basically Dish's ploy to renegotiate that--Dish is already paying FOX for the rights to carry their shows, so FOX needs to decide which it wants: charge customers to watch the shows, or charge advertisers. Right now Fox is getting both.

Are they really that fucking stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40105987)

People already have the means to skip commercials, it's the little buttons on their remotes that skip forward 15 to 30 seconds at a point. This just takes most of the guesswork out of it.

And as to Copyright? wtf? The copyright is on the movie or televesion show - it's not on the television show with commercials, otherwise the DVD releases would have commercials in the episodes as well.

This is purely a means to try and get more money. I hope Dish gives em both barrels. Fuck em and their commercials.
I haven't watched a commercial that I wasn't interested in in over 5 years.

BIZNAT:cH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40106001)

Get how people can Of BSD/OS. A become like they see... The number Bulk of the FreeBSD BSD fanatics? I've *BSD is dying It is its readers and they're gone Mac

Some obvious points missed ... (3, Informative)

tipo159 (1151047) | more than 2 years ago | (#40106011)

1. You can't just rebroadcast a television signal, even if it is an OTA broadcast. That is part of the law and the NAB will remind you of it if you ever think about doing it. Rebroadcasting it would be a violation of US copyright law. You have to get a license from the content provider to broadcast. (Lots of cases in US copyright law revolve around whether some action qualifies as 'broadcasting'.)

2. Dish has legal agreements with Fox (and the other networks) to rebroadcast their programming. I have a hard time believing that Dish's actions here aren't a violation of those agreements and pulled the plug. That does raise the question of why haven't they.

3. Networks and individual stations routinely get in fights with Dish and DirecTV and cut-off their service.

You and I have an individual right to FF over the commercials. As a rebroadcaster of someone else's content stream, Dish has legal obligations that you and I don't have.

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