NewsCorp Unit Seeks to Quash Software Piracy Claims

31 May 2002

NewsCorp-controlled software firm NDS yesterday launched a bid to have annulled a lawsuit filed against it by Vivendi Universal unit Canal Plus.

Earlier this year, Canal Plus accused NDS of cracking the security codes of its smart cards (devices that allow reception of pay-TV transmissions) and passing them to online pirates, prompting a flood of counterfeit cards in the UK, Italy and France [WAMN: 12-Mar-02]. The Vivendi unit is suing for $1 billion (€1.1bn; £0.7bn) in damages.

NDS is asking the San Francisco court at which the suit has been filed to dismiss the allegations, contending that legislation governing unfair competition, conspiracy and interference undermines the legal basis of Canal Plus’s claims.

It has also filed a motion to transfer the case from San Francisco to Santa Ana, where NDS has a presence.

The NewsCorp subsidiary – whose board members include James and Lachlan Murdoch – vigorously denies the accusations, arguing that Canal Plus is trying to shift blame for its troubles away from its own “business ineptitude”.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff