SPH sues Yahoo for copyright infringement

Singapore media house Singapore Press Holdings accuses Yahoo for "substantially" reproducing content taken from its newspapers, report notes. Internet giant promises to "vigorously defend" itself against charge.

Singapore media organization Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Yahoo for reproducing content from its stable of newspapers. The Web giant has refuted the charge, however, saying it intends to "vigorously defend" itself.

Local broadsheet The Straits Times, which is published by SPH, reported on Wednesday that Yahoo's Southeast Asia editorial department has "substantially" reproduced articles from its newspapers without proper licensing or authorization. It has since filed the copyright lawsuit with the Singapore High Court last Friday, and the writ and statement of claim were served on Yahoo Southeast Asia on Monday.

The report noted that SPH cited 23 articles as examples of content that Yahoo Southeast Asia had allegedly reproduced on its Web sites. These included political and crime reports first published in its newspapers such as The Straits Times, The New Paper and My Paper during the period between Nov. 16, 2010 and Oct. 20, 2011, it stated.

The lawsuit could potentially be a landmark case as it is believed to be the first legal wrangle between a traditional media owner and a new media organization, the report noted. Ang Peng Hwa, director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre at Nanyang Technological University, agreed, said the case "could set some precedent, depending on what comes out".

Yahoo has since responded to SPH's claims, saying that it has filed a memorandum of appearance with the courts to defend itself against the copyright lawsuit, according to a separate news report.

"We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this suit. Our editorial business model of acquired, commissioned and original content is proven," said Alan Soon, managing editor at Yahoo Southeast Asia, in the report.

Quizzed by ZDNet Asia, the Web company issued this statement: "We confirm that SPH has commenced litigation against Yahoo Southeast Asia for alleged copyright infringement. This matter has been referred to our legal advisors and as such we are unable to comment further at this time."