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Dish Concealed Ad-Skipping Feature During Contract Talks: CBS

Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013 | 6:45 AM ET

CBS has filed an amended lawsuit against Dish Network accusing the No. 2 U.S. satellite TV company of concealing material facts about its ad-skipping technology during contract negotiations in 2011.

A legal battle erupted last year between Dish Network and major U.S. broadcast networks over Dish's Hopper DVR, which threatens to bring down the television business model by allowing viewers to skip over commercials entirely when they watch recorded shows.

In the amended lawsuit filed in a New York court on Tuesday, CBS said Dish "deliberately failed" to disclose during the negotiation of a retransmission agreement that it had developed the "autohop" feature.

"If CBS had known that Dish had developed and intended to offer this service, CBS would not have entered into the retransmission agreement on the terms set forth in the current agreement," the television network argued in a court filing.

Dish could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

Last year Dish asked a Manhattan court to declare that its "autohop" feature does not infringe any copyright owned by the four major U.S. television networks: Walt Disney's ABC, CBS's CBS, News Corp.'s Fox, and Comcast's NBC.

In January this year, Dish also unveiled a new version of the Hopper, with new features such as the ability to stream live TV and recorded programs outside the home, which could engender a new round of lawsuits.

Also this month, Dish's DVR Hopper was disqualified from receiving an CNET industry award due to the litigation with CBS. CNET is a unit of CBS Corp.

The case is: Dish Network LLC v. American Broadcasting Cos et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-04155.


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