Dish and TV Networks are battling over the former's new AutoHop service, which allows consumers to skip television ads. On Thursday, May 24, FOX, NBCUniversal and CBS have separately sued the satellite broadcaster over the program, citing copyright infringement.
In a statement, FOX claimed Dish's service will be "destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem." It added, "Their wrongheaded decision requires us to take swift action in order to aggressively defend the future of free, over-the-air television."
Releasing its own statement, NBC explained, "Advertising generates the revenue that makes it possible for local broadcast stations and national broadcast networks to pay for the creation of the news, sports and entertainment programming... Dish simply does not have the authority to tamper with the ads from broadcast replays on a wholesale basis for its own economic and commercial advantage."
CBS, meanwhile, stated, "This service takes existing network content and modifies it in a manner that is unauthorized and illegal. We believe this is a clear violation of copyright law and we intend to stop it."
Dish itself has taken a step to protect its new service by filing a lawsuit against FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC, although the Alphabet has not sued Dish. Seeking a "declaratory judgment" that its AutoHop feature is legal, the satellite broadcaster argued that "viewers have been skipping commercials since the advent of the remote control."
"Consumers should be able to fairly choose for themselves what they do and do not want to watch," Dish senior vp programming David Shull said in a statement, adding that "we are giving them a feature they want and that gives them more control."