FC: News Corp accused of secretly breaking TV copy-protection scheme

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Mar 12 2002 - 09:14:03 PST

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: More on riot after Mexican police end pirate CD sales, verified"

    [A quibble: News Corp. certainly has been supportive of the draft SSSCA -- 
    I don't know if I'd call them a "very vocal" supporter. See my interview 
    with their lobbyist and parse the language for yourself: 
    http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,46671,00.html --Declan]
    From: "Richard M. Smith" <rmsat_private>
    To: "'Declan McCullagh'" <declanat_private>
    Subject: News Corp. accused of secretly breaking TV copy-protection scheme
    Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 08:58:33 -0800
    Wow!  According to this Vivendi Universal lawsuit against News Corp.,
    News Corp. has been accused of secretly breaking a copy-protection
    scheme for V/U's digital satellite TV system and making this information
    available on the Internet.  Sounds like copy-protection circumvention
    has become a competitive weapon!
    Ironically News Corp. has been a very vocal support of the Senator
    Hollings SSSCA bill which mandates copy protection hardware in all
    personal computers.
    Richard M. Smith
    Vivendi's Canal Plus alleges NDS helped steal digital-TV broadcasts
    French pay-TV firm sues News Corp. unit for $1 billion
    March 12 - In a startling lawsuit, Vivendi Universal SA's Canal Plus
    Group accuses rival NDS Group PLC, controlled by News Corp., of directly
    aiding in the widespread pilfering of digital-TV broadcasts.
    The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.,
    involves the TV "smart cards" that both companies produce and which are
    supposed to ensure the secure delivery of digital-TV programming. The
    cards, which are inserted into set-top boxes, protect satellite and
    cable-TV signals from being swiped by customers who haven't paid to
    receive them.
    It is rare, if not unprecedented, for one media company to launch such a
    frontal assault on another over the issue of piracy, which they all
    agree is a crucial and potentially destructive problem. But in this
    case, Canal Plus Group, of Paris, and its Canal Plus Technologies unit
    allege that NDS in the late 1990s set up a massive operation at its
    research laboratory in Israel to break the computer code that operates
    Canal's smart card. That effort, the suit says, involved "electrical and
    optical examination of the protected internal software code of the card
    using expensive machinery designed and operated to defeat Canal Plus
    Technologies' protective measures."
    After the code was successfully extracted in 1998, Canal alleges, NDS
    transmitted it in a digital file to NDS Americas Inc. in California
    "with instructions that it be published on the Internet," so that it
    "would be freely available to anyone who wanted to use it to produce
    counterfeit" Canal Plus smart cards. The suit says that, in March 1999,
    the code was published on a Web site that Canal says is frequented by
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
    You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
    Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
    To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
    This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Mar 12 2002 - 10:05:37 PST