Singapore’s SPH Sues Yahoo! In Copyright Row
SINGAPORE – Asian media firm Singapore Press Holdings is suing Yahoo! for copyright infringement, accusing the US Internet giant of reproducing its news items without permission, both firms confirmed Wednesday.
A front-page report on its flagship Straits Times newspaper said SPH had asked Singapore’s High Court to stop Yahoo! from further reproducing its articles and pay unspecified damages for infringement.
In its claim, SPH cited 23 articles from its newspapers that Yahoo! had allegedly “reproduced substantially” on its websites over a 12-month period between November 2010 and October 2011.
They included political and crime stories that were first published in the print editions of the Straits Times, The New Paper and My Paper.
“We confirm that Singapore Press Holdings has commenced litigation against Yahoo! Southeast Asia Pte Ltd for alleged copyright infringement,” said a Yahoo! statement sent to AFP.
“This matter has been referred to our legal advisors and as such we are unable to comment further at this time.”
In a story published on the Yahoo! Singapore website, the California-based firm’s Southeast Asia Managing Editor Alan Soon said: “We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this suit.
“Our editorial business model of acquired, commissioned and original content is proven.”
SPH said that despite a request to cease the alleged infringement, “substantial reproduction of the media company’s content continue to be available on Yahoo! Southeast Asia’s sites.”
SPH is asking the court to declare that Yahoo! Southeast Asia infringed on its copyright, stop it from further reproducing articles and pay damages, the Straits Times report said.
It quoted a local media expert, Ang Peng Hwa, as saying the case could set a precedent as it would have an impact on the way news websites operate.
Yahoo! is one of the top online sources of news in Singapore along with the the Breaking News section of the Straits Times website, both of which can be accessed free of charge.
Both are competing for online advertising revenues from Singaporean and foreign companies along with Microsoft’s MSN, which has a news tie-up with Singaporean broadcasting-based group MediaCorp.
SPH is one of Asia’s biggest media-based groups, with a near monopoly of Singapore’s daily newspaper market and prime property assets.
Group revenue in its financial year ending August 31 was down 9.4 percent from a year ago at Sg$1.25 billion ($958 million), but revenue from its newspaper and magazine business was up four percent at Sg$1.01 billion, according to the SPH annual report. – AFP