Public Knowledge, which has lent moral support to Dish's
Hopper ad-skipping DVR, the target of a suit by Fox, has added its legal
support as well.
The group filed an amicus brief Monday with a
California district court asking it to deny Fox's request that the court
step in to put a stopper on the Hopper.
"Fox may have sued Dish, but its real target is the
wallet of the ordinary television viewer," Public Knowledge said in its
brief. "It wants to take away the home recording rights that all viewers
enjoy, so that it can sell back to them the ability to watch programs on
demand...This Court must reject Fox's attempt to assert rights it does not
Fox has sought a preliminary injunction, claiming, along
with other broadcasters, that it violates copyrights, breaches contracts, and,
if the Hopper is left to auto-hop over the commercials, threatens the business
model that allows it to deliver its high-value content to DISH and other
Dish asserts it has added an innovative feature to the DVR
in service of a consumer who wants what they want when they want it.
Public Knowledge agrees. "Fox has argued that skipping
commercials ought to be against the law. But viewers have the same rights today
as they did in 1984, when the Supreme Court said that recording programs with a
VCR is a 'fair use' of copyrighted content," it told the court. "Fox
has not supported its claim for preliminary injunctive relief, and has not met
its burdens. This Court should deny its motion."