Murdoch’s Pirates

Murdoch’s Pirates is a fascinating read. It tells a story about a company that was owned by News Corp, that may have hacked key pieces of technology produced by its competitors, in direct corporate espionage.

It’s always interesting with books like this, to wonder how close they came, or didn’t come, to a lawsuit. The fact that Murdoch’s Pirates is still available on Amazon at the time of writing makes me think that it managed to go relatively unscathed; it’s easy to imagine that if it had been worth bringing a lawsuit, it might have been shut down.

I’ll close with a quote – see if you can spot the sentence the lawyers put in:

Taken together, the controversies at NDS, News International and News America Marketing paint a pattern of failed accountability within large segments of News Corporation. That suggests part of the problem lies with directors and senior management. But fixing a sick management culture requires more than shutting down newspapers or shredding troubled business units. This is the underlying problem presented by the split of News Corporation. Good NewsCo and Bad NewsCo will be run by executives and board members whose actions or lack of action were instrumental in creating the management culture that allowed the scandals of the last decade and a half to develop.

Chase Carey, who will run the dominant entertainment arm under Murdoch, was the News executive given the task of overseeing NDS. Chief financial officer David DeVoe, former group counsel Arthur Siskind, and James and Lachlan Murdoch have all been directors of NDS. There is no suggestion that they were aware of any of the actions of the Operational Security team. Rather, the question is whether they should have been aware.


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