Fox Will Appeal Judge’s Ruling in Favor of Dish’s Slingbox Services

Fox has appealed a federal judge’s ruling in favor of Dish Network’s offering of several new services, including a venture with Slingbox that offers remote digital streams of broadcast programming.

Last month U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee refused to order Dish to halt the offerings, called Dish Anywhere, handing another win to the satcaster after earlier declining broadcasters’ efforts to stop Dish’s AutoHop and Primetime Anytime services. The latter feature allow subscribers to automatically record entire nights’ worth of primetime programming, and it also has a feature that automatically skips through commercials.

Fox’s appeal, filed on Wednesday, was under seal, as was Gee’s Sept. 23 ruling. But Fox has argued that Dish Anywhere violates a license agreement it has with Dish under which Dish cannot retransmit Fox’s live broadcast signal over the Internet and cannot allow any other services to do so. “Sling technology is just Dish’s way of processing a video signal so it can be transmitted over the Internet,” Fox said in a brief in the case. Fox also argues that the feature infringes on their copyrights.

Dish has said that Fox and other broadcasters are only recently challenging the technology, first introduced by Slingbox seven years ago, after they sought to shut down the startup Aereo, which also provides digital broadcast streams. Dish contends that the streams offered through Dish Anywhere are still private performances and therefore do not fall under the public performance protections in the Copyright Act.

Even though Slingbox does offer streams of broadcast signals, the networks did not challenge it when it was first introduced in part because it had yet to gain widespread popularity. By contrast, the Dish Anywhere service is available to 2 million homes.

On Wednesday, Apple TV debuted a feature so owners can watch live TV and DVR recordings through an updated Slingbox app for iPhone and iPad.

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