NBCUniversal has reportedly placed a hold on its lawsuit against Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) over ad-skipping features in the Hopper DVR and has begun negotiations with the satellite carrier.
The Wall Street Journal reports that it's unclear as to how advanced these talks are. But the increased dialog and reduced litigation is the latest sign of a detente in the two-year-old legal battle between Dish and each of the four major broadcast networks, which individually sued the pay TV company when it debuted a digital video recorder feature that stripped out the advertising of recorded first-run broadcast shows.
One of those suits, filed by The Walt Disney Company, was negated in March, when the entertainment conglomerate crafted a sweeping content rights deal with Dish, which called for the Hopper to strip out ads from ABC shows no sooner than three days after initial broadcast of a show. This protected the three-day window that the network's primary ad sales metric, the C-3 audience rating, is based on.
Not that all of Dish's legal troubles are going away.
It's also unclear as to what impact last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Aereo will have on Dish's Hopper litigation. A number of legal analysts have speculated that the ruling could have negative implications for those who use cloud-based systems to distribute content. And late last week, an attorney for Fox--which is actively pursuing its case against Dish and the Hopper--wrote a memo to the court suggesting the same thing.
"In Aereo, the Supreme Court held that Aereo's unauthorized retransmission of Fox's television programming over the Internet constitutes an unauthorized public performance of Fox's copyrighted works," wrote Fox attorney Richard Stone. "Dish, which engages in virtually identical conduct when it is streaming Fox's programming to Dish subscribers over the Internet--albeit also in violation of an express contractual prohibition--has repeatedly raised the same defenses as Aereo which have now been rejected by the Supreme Court."
- read this Wall Street Journal story
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