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Dish Network scores in legal battle, Hopper DVR platform lives on

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Dish Network came away with a legal victory on July 14 when a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the company over Fox Broadcasting Co. in case involving the Hopper DVR platform.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision made by the lower court in September of last year that rejects Fox's bid to disallow Dish subscribers from using two features that are found on the Hopper Whole-Home DVR platform.

The features in question are Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers. Dish Anywhere allows users to remotely access a television signal from an Internet-connected device as long as the television signal being access has already been received by the user at their home. Hopper Transfers, on the other hand, is a feature that allows users to access content without an Internet connection as Dish users transfer Hopper DVR recordings to an iPad.

Fox appealed to the court to prevent Dish Network from offering these features that allows the streaming of the company's content over the Internet to Dish subscribers. Fox argues that the streaming of the content is unauthorized, which is similar to the case that Fox won last month against Aereo.

Aereo lost a copyright infringement case due to its business of allowing users to watch live and time-shifted streaming content of television programs on Internet-connected devices. The U.S. Supreme Court issued the verdict that Aereo is running an illegal service, prompting the company to suspend all operations on June 28.

Dish, however, maintains that the case between the company and Aereo is very different. Dish said that the company's Hopper DVR platform is physically present in the homes of their users, while Aereo allows users to use a DVR that is based on a cloud platform.

The judges of the appeals court found that the claims of Fox that the company would be "irreparably harmed" by Dish's Hopper platform as not credible. 

"Today's decision is the fifth in a string of victories for consumers related to our Hopper® Whole-Home DVR platform. DISH is pleased that the Court has sided again with consumer choice and control by rejecting Fox's efforts to deny our customers access to the DISH Anywhere and Hopper Transfers features," said Dish executive vice president and general counsel R. Stanton Dodge in a statement.

Fox, together with ABC, CBS and NBC, filed a lawsuit against Dish two years ago to stop the usage of the AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime features. The Ninth Circuit also rejected the lawsuit last year.

Dish Network, as of the end of March this year, has over 14 million subscribers that have access to over 200 national high-definition channels.

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