When You Dish Upon a Betamax


Dish Network
You may recognize me the side of a poorly maintained apartment building.

You know who we haven’t talked about in a while? If your answer was “people who force Greek yogurt on an unsuspecting public,” then you’re wrong because that was just the last post.

If your answer was “Dish Network,” then you are very much correct.

As you may recall, our friends at Dish Network have introduced a new piece of technology that allows users to skip (not just fast-forward through, but completely black out) commercials during DVR’d prime time programming from the Big Four broadcast networks. They call it AutoHop and it only works when you record shows using the Prime Time Anytime feature and only when you watch the recording after 1:00 a.m. the day after it originally aired.

Obviously, the broadcasters are filing a lawsuit against Dish Network because if people can completely skip the commercials, then advertisers will take their money elsewhere. Dish Network was looking to try the copyright infringement and breach of contract cases in U.S. District Court in New York. However, a judge there has ruled that the broadcast networks can file suit in U.S. District Court in California, a place that has traditionally been friendlier towards those defending their copyrights than those being accused of infringing upon copyrights. The broadcast networks are pretty stoked about this, but Dish Network is trying to act like they’re fine with whatever. This dumb commercial does not make them look fine (I would like to point out how easy it was to find a bad Dish Network commercial – just sayin’).

[youtube tiovc0TGmsQ Dish Network]

It will be a while before the case actually goes to trial, but both sides have released statements saying they’re pretty sure they’ve got this in the bag. Fox said in part, “We are pleased that the court has determined that Fox, as the true victim and plaintiff here…” Hold up a minute. I think my friends at Fox have a legitimate beef with Dish Network here, but I feel like the company that thrust “Paradise Hotel” onto innocent, disease-free people shouldn’t be allowed to refer to itself as a victim.

[youtube ZigWTGpZkFA Paradise Hotel]

Not to be outdone, Dish Network is defending itself with the Betamax. Their legal team of Jessica Fletcher and Matlock lawyer R. Stanton Dodge said, “Regardless of the venue, we look forward to proceeding with this case, recognizing that it has been 28 years since the Supreme Court’s ‘Betamax’ decision held that a viewer, in the privacy of their home, could record a television show to watch later.” Maybe I’m not remember correctly since I was two years old when the Betamax was released, but I don’t think recording a TV show on Betamax made the commercials disappear. I do recall that it was the size of an encyclopedia, so there’s that.

We will just have to wait and see how this plays out. This kind of reminds me of Napster and how they would defend themselves by saying that they’re not encouraging people to steal music and they can’t help it if that’s how people choose to use their technology. They should have used the cassette single defense and things would have worked out totally differently.

And now this! Just figure it out so I can watch RuPaul’s Drag U. Thanks.


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