Attorneys for Fox and Dish filed a joint stipulation asking U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee to stay the case on Thursday, citing the upcoming retransmission consent negotiations when Dish’s contract for Fox expires on Oct. 29. The stay will be in effect until Oct. 1.
A trial in the long dispute between Dish and Fox had been scheduled to begin on Feb. 24.
Fox and Dish attorneys said that they believe “a stay of all litigation would promote a settlement of the case.”
Broadcasters challenged Dish Network’s offering of the ad-skipping functions in lawsuits filed in 2012. But ABC and CBS settled their litigation against Dish, and NBC Universal’s lawsuit is pending.
Dish Network and Fox News announced an agreement on Thursday to restore the news channel to the satcaster’s service.
Gee issued a sealed summary judgment ruling in the case earlier this month, and both sides asked her to keep it under seal.
In October, during a hearing, Gee indicated a tentative decision that Dish Network wasn’t violating copyright law in its offering of the AutoHop service. She had sided with the company in previous court rulings.
Gee did indicate at the hearing that Fox may have a claim for breach of contract over some of the copying functions of Dish’s services. Fox has argued that Dish’s Primetime Anytime service, in which entire nights’ worth of programming is automatically recorded for a subscriber, violates its contract agreement with Dish, which prohibits them from offering its content on video-on-demand.
Dish, on the other hand, had said that the function works like a DVR, with the consumer making the copy, not the company. They have cited the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the 1984 Sony Betamax case that allows for consumers to make personal copies of copyrighted programming.
Gee also indicated that she was leaning toward Fox when it came to Dish’s offering of an Anywhere feature that allows subscribers to use remote devices to watch live streams of broadcast programming. The Anywhere feature uses Sling technology. The Supreme Court in June ruled that Aereo was infringing on copyrights when it offered streams of broadcast programming via a system of remote antennas.