3 Count: Hopping Ahead

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1: Judge Tentatively Rules in Favor of Dish in Fox’s AutoHop Challenge

First off today, Ted Johnson at Variety reports that a federal judge has tentatively sided with Dish Network on its “AutoHop” DVR feature, which automatically skips commercials in recorded programs. The decision comes as little surprise considering the judge has previously ruled in favor of Dish on the issue and that ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

However, the judge said that Fox may a legitimate contract claim over Dish’s “Primetime Anytime” service, which records the entire prime time block of programming. Fox’s contracts with Dish prohibit Dish from making Fox content available via an on demand service, which is what Fox claims Primetime Anytime is. Dish contends that it is still the user, not them, doing the recording.

Finally, the judge seemed to lean toward Fox on the issue of Sling, which allows users to stream recorded television via the Web to a number of devices. That follows a ruling that shuttered TV streaming Aereo in June, which Fox was quick to compare to Sling.

2: ‘New Girl’ Copyright Suit Dismissed Against Fox, Peter Chernin & WME

Next up today, Dominic Patten at Deadline Hollywood reports that a lawsuit filed against Fox over the TV show “New Girl” has been dismissed with the judge calling it “ambiguous” and unlikely to prevail.

According to the complaint, “New Girl” was based on a 2006 pilot entitled “Square One” and the creators of “Square One” say they were not credited as authors or compensated. However, the judge felt that the complaint was ambiguous, looking at at least four different. scripts for “Square One” and, further that the claim came too late, coming after the statute of limitations had expired.

But while the judge felt that the claim, as written, wouldn’t likely succeed, the door was left open for the plaintiffs to refile if they so choose.

3: Universal Music Mulling Action Against American Airlines Over In-Flight Music

Finally today, Eriq Gardner at Billboard reports that Universal Music Group (UMG) may be gearing up to file a lawsuit against American Airlines, over the use of UMG’s music in in-flight entertainment.

Last year, Sony sued United Airlines and several of its contractors over the issue of music played in in-flight entertainment systems. One of those contractors claimed to have obtained a license to play the music rom an Irish rights organization but questions were raised as to whether that license was viable after planes left the country. However, before a ruling could be made, the two sides reached a settlement, which is still being finalized.

Meanwhile, Universal has filed a similar lawsuit against Global Eagle Entertainment and Inflight Productions on similar grounds. They are contractors for American Airlines. American, however, has not been named in the lawsuit but has filed papers saying that Universal has threatened them and subpoenaed a large amount of documents, much of which is irrelevant unless Sony plans on also suing American Airlines. The two sides have already agreed not to litigate against each other until November 10, but American contends Universal is attempting to gain discovery ahead of such a lawsuit.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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