MEDIA FIRM Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is suing Yahoo's Southeast Asia division for allegedly infringing its copyrighted material by reprinting it on its news aggregator without seeking permission.
The company, which publishes The Straits Times, has filed a lawsuit with the High Court in Singapore accusing Yahoo of illegally reproducing articles from its newspapers. It showed 23 examples where Yahoo had used its articles without permission or payment over the last 12 months.
The Straits Times previously sent Yahoo a cease and desist letter, but Yahoo continued to reproduce the articles.
SPH wants the court to declare that Yahoo has committed copyright infringement, order it to stop, and order it to pay damages for content that it has already used without permission.
"We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this suit," said Alan Soon, managing editor of Yahoo Southeast Asia, according to Yahoo Singapore. "Our editorial business model of acquired, commissioned and original content is proven."
Yahoo Singapore and The Straits Times are two of the top news web sites in the region. They both offer free access to news, gaining revenues from the competitive advertising industry instead. Some might see Yahoo at a distinct advantage here, given its advertising knowledge and the wide range of sources it pulls from for its news web site.
The Straits Times has seen a drop in readership lately, some of which it might attribute to Yahoo's actions, which could secure it a hefty sum of money damages if the courts rule in its favour.
The case could also have repercussions for other news aggregation services, including Google's Hosted News. Companies might be forced to pull certain news sources from their lists entirely or negotiate deals with them, which might involve expensive licensing fees.
Hundreds of Yahoo Singapore users have voiced their dissatisfaction with the SPH lawsuit, with some vowing to never read The Straits Times again. µ
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