DTH

NDS, Canal Plus dispute to be heard in California court on Thursday

French tech company Canal Plus and Rupert Murdoch's NDS will lock horns in a California court on Thursday. This will be the first public hearing of the claim in which Canal Plus is suing NDS for $ 1 billion dollars.

The controversy started last month when the French company accused NDS of cracking its pay-TV smart card software and helping create counterfeit versions by distributing the security codes on the internet. Canal Plus's case appears to have gathered momentum as Oliver Kommerling, an employee of NDS-owned ADSR, threatens to turn whistleblower. He said in his deposition that he had a written report showing that "NDS engineers disassembled and analysed" the security software used by Canal Plus smart cards.

Kommerling said that he was told by NDS employees that the Canal Plus code was cracked by NDS technicians in Israel. He has alleged that Chris Tarnovsky, an NDS employee, arranged for the Canal Plus codes to be published on a website, www. DR7.com.

Even if the charge is validated, Canal Plus has to prove that Tarnovsky did the needful under instructions from NDS management. Rupert Murdoch's sons, James and Lachlan, are on the NDS board. Meanwhile, NDS continues to maintain that it was in no way involved in the piracy of smart cards, used to enable Vivendi and ITV Digital pay-TV services.

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