CBS ratcheted up its legal battle with Dish Network, amending its lawsuit against the satellite TV provider Wednesday with a claim that Dish misled the network during contract talks in 2011, CNET reports.
CBS says Dish “deliberately failed to disclose” its ad-skipping technology during the negotiations, according to the piece.
“The lawsuit is part of a legal battle between Dish and the major television networks that erupted last year over ‘AutoHop,’ which allows customers to skip commercials at the touch of a button,” the story reports. “The networks, including CBS, which is the parent company of CNET News, contend that the technology threatens to undermine an industry that depends on advertising revenue to help cover the cost of their shows.”
The piece adds: “In its amended lawsuit, CBS accused Dish of fraudulently concealing material facts related to the feature during negotiations of their Retransmission Agreement. ‘Dish deliberately or with reckless disregard failed to disclose’ details of the planned service feature, CBS said in its 101-page filing.”
The CBS filing adds: "Had Dish disclosed to CBS during the negotiations the material facts that it had developed AutoHop and intended to provide its subscribers with AutoHop, CBS would not have entered into the Retransmission Agreement on the terms set forth in the current agreement.”
The report notes that Dish CEO Joe Clayton said earlier this month that the company has 2 million Dish Hoppers in the marketplace.
At the time, Clayton said: "Dish is partners with the broadcasters and we want good relations, but at same time we want to provide what is best for consumers, and I believe there will be a meeting of the minds at the appropriate time."
CNET notes: “The networks filed lawsuits last May that sought to stop Dish from transmitting their programs in such a way that allows viewers to watch them without commercial interruptions, alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract.”
The report adds: “Dish countered with its own lawsuit against the networks, claiming that the AutoHop feature doesn’t infringe copyright because the technology doesn’t alter the broadcast signal since the ads are not deleted from the recording.”