Public Knowledge has launched a
letter-writing campaign to CBS, Fox and NBC opposing their suit against Dish's
Hopper commercial-skipping technology.
The group sent out an email Thursday
with a link to an online letter (see below) to make it easy for its members and
others to weigh in on Dish's side.
Public Knowledge was an early critic
of the lawsuits
and also backs Aereo, the Barry Diller-backed service that broadcasters see as a threat to their business model.
"Dear FOX, NBC, and CBS Executives:
I am appalled at the news that you
are suing Dish over its DVR "Hopper," a technology that allows its users to
more conveniently skip commercials on recorded shows. Astonishingly, you've
claimed both that Dish and its customers are breaking the law when they don't
watch commercials on recorded programming. I'm offended that you would so
casually call millions of Americans lawbreakers.
Skipping commercials is 100% legal
and the Supreme Court affirmed viewers' right to record TV in its landmark
Betamax decision of 1984. Unfortunately, while technology has evolved since the
Betamax decision, your habit of trying to use the courts to squash innovation
TV viewers' preferences are
evolving. We want on-demand shows and live broadcasting. We want control over
when and how we watch TV. And we want to be able to fast forward and rewind
recorded programming in ways that are convenient to us. These are not
unreasonable expectations because we know that networks make significant money
from satellite and cable operators who then pass on the cost to us through our
As a 21st century television viewer,
I call on you, the network television executive, to stop trampling innovation
and allow Dish and other companies to innovate and improve their technologies
and to meet the needs of today's television viewer."