N.Y. judge will make nets wait until July 2 AutoHop hearing

Restraining order prevents Fox, CBS, NBC from pursuing litigation against Dish Network

A New York federal judge has at least temporarily put the brakes on the broadcast networks’ efforts to halt a Dish Network service that allows its customers to automatically skip through commercials.

U.S. District Judge Laura T. Swain signed a temporary restraining order on Wednesday that prevents Fox, CBS and NBC from pursuing their litigation in a Los Angeles federal court at least until a July 2 hearing in her court.

Last week, Dish Network filed suit in New York, seeking a declaratory judgment that their AutoHop service was within their rights. The three other networks filed their own suits in a Los Angeles federal court later in the day, claiming copyright infringement and, in Fox’s case, breach of contract. The networks are seeking to stop the service, charging that it undercuts their advertising revenue stream.

“We look forward to making our case against Dish for copyright infringement and breach of contract in court,” Fox said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, attorneys for the networks argued in a New York federal court in their effort to halt the Internet startup Aereo, which streams broadcast signals to customers by capturing signals via nickel-sized antennas assigned to each user. Although the networks content that the service violates public performance provisions of copyright laws, Aereo attorneys characterized their service as a private transmission.

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