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Yahoo! counter-sues SPH in copyright lawsuit


13:43, December 14, 2011

SINGAPORE, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Internet firm Yahoo! has denied infringing the copyright of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and counter-sued, the Straits Times reported on Wednesday.

The SPH, which controlled most of the newspapers in Singapore, including the two mainstream newspapers Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao, filed a lawsuit last month against Yahoo. It cited 23 articles from the newspapers as examples which were allegedly have been reproduced substantially over a 12-month period on Yahoo! Southeast Asia's websites.

Yahoo! sought to draw a line between content in a newspaper and on the Internet. The United States-based company said the Copyright Act entitles a newspaper proprietor to copyright as it relates to publication of a work in newspapers, magazines or periodicals.

Therefore, it claimed, SPH did not have or gain any copyright for reproduction of works on a website, the Internet or other online platforms.

Yahoo! also claimed that the alleged infringements related only to facts and information, which cannot be protected by copyright. It was important the public be kept informed of current events in Singapore. It was in the public interest that news should be disseminated and made available in a timely manner, it said.

In the counter lawsuit, it cited two articles and a picture originally on its website which were then allegedly posted on SPH' s citizen journalism website Stomp as infringement of its copyright.

Yahoo! also said that it had tried to work out a licence agreement for SPH content in 2009 and last year. But SPH was prepared only to license certain online articles that were not in the hard copy version of the Straits Times. These online stories were usually only three to four paragraphs long -- essentially summaries of longer stories.

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