Like many people, I have a serious love-hate relationship with movie and television studios. I love a lot of the content they produce, but they never cease to irritate me when it comes to their heavy-handed approach to trying to block viewers from accessing content the way we want to access it. I think one of the best DVR features I’ve heard of in a long time is Dish Networks’ AutoHop technology.
This technology allows Dish Network users with compatible DVRs to record prime-time programming on major networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox and automatically skip all the commercials. The users can watch recorded content the day after the original broadcasts without having to sit through any advertisements or having to fast-forward.
As you can imagine that feature made the networks very angry, and Fox sued Dish Network for copyright infringement among other things. Thankfully, Dish Network and TV fans around the country have won this battle for now, with the judge presiding over the case ruling in Dish Networks favor. The judge found no copyright infringement for customers using the feature and ruled that the PrimeTime Anytime feature doesn’t infringe on the studio’s exclusive reproduction rights under federal copyright laws.