Yahoo! sued for copyright infringement

Yahoo Inc.’s Southeast Asia division is being sued by Asian media group Singapore Press Holdings for reproducing content from its newspaper without permission.

Singapore Press, publisher of the Straits Times newspaper and other dailies, has asked Singapore’s High Court to stop Yahoo! from reproducing articles from its newspapers and pay unspecified damages for the copyright infringement.

“In our statement of claim, we cited, as examples, 23 articles from our newspapers which Yahoo! had reproduced over a 12-month period without our licence or authorisation,” SPH spokeswoman Chin Soo Fang.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the publishing house, which holds a near monopoly on newspaper publishing in Singapore, also said that it has approached by Yahoo in April 2009 for a license to reproduce its news content but negotiations broke down in the first half of 2010.

“We confirm that Singapore Press Holdings has commenced litigation against Yahoo! Southeast Asia Pte Ltd for alleged copyright infringement,” Yahoo! said in a statement.

“This matter has been referred to our legal advisors and as such we are unable to comment further at this time.”

In a story 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.

SPH cites 23 articles from its newspapers that Yahoo! allegedly “reproduced substantially” on its websites

“Our editorial business model of acquired, commissioned and original content is proven.”

The Straits Times said that despite a request to cease the alleged infringement, “substantial reproduction” of SPH content continued 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 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 Breaking News section of the Straits Times website, both of which can be accessed free of charge.



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