One of the conditions that was put forth by Murdoch in his acquisition
of Vivendi Universal's Telepiu satellite pay TV platform was that
the litigation between the two parties would end. This includes
Stream's litigation against Telepiu and Vivendi Universal subsidiary
Canal+'s litigation against NDS. A couple of days ago Vivendi sold
Telepiu to News Corp and Telecom Italia for 871 million euros in
debt and cash. News Corp will own 80.1 per cent of Sky Italia and
the rest by Telecom Italia.
A year ago in March Canal Plus had filed a suit against NDS for
a billion dollars. It claimed that NDS engineers had hacked its
security system and then made the relevant codes available for hackers
on the Internet. NDS makes similar TV security systems. Canal Plus
claims that its smartcard technology allows encryption of signals
by broadcasters. So the process of revenue collection from subscribers
is smooth. It claimed that security measures were running fine until
March 1999 when its software code was copied and published on the
website DR7.com. It claims to have spent more than $US35 million
on the technology. It had accused NDS of getting its smartcards
and sending them to an NDS laboratory in Israel for analysis.
Murdoch now will concentrate on fighting rampant piracy in Italy's
pay TV market. He also have to contend with the free to air channels.
Earlier Vivendi's Telepiu and Murdoch's Stream were suffering huge
losses. In 2001 Telepiu lost $300mn and Stream $200mn as a result
of football deals