SPH: Yahoo! has been 'free-riding' on the efforts of its editorial staff

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) says Yahoo! Southeast Asia has enjoyed a "free-ride" on the efforts of its editorial team and pledged to defend its copyrighted content.

In its reply and defence to Yahoo!'s counterclaim filed on Wednesday, SPH alleged that the U.S. company had deliberately plagiarised its articles by "substantially reproducing" words and expressions used without permission.

SPH said it "cannot allow a third party to plagiarise its works without regard to the effort and resources that go into producing its content”.

The Singapore-based publishing group filed on 18 November a copyright infringement suit against Yahoo! Southeast Asia, citing 23 articles which it alleged the internet company had reproduced from its stable of newspapers without permission. SPH says it reserves the right to cite other instances of infringement in the future.
Yahoo! has maintained that its articles are produced with clear attribution in accordance to industry practices and that published facts from any source are not protected by copyright. In an earlier court filing, Yahoo! had also said it is acting in the public's interest in providing free and timely access to information on current events.

SPH also denied Yahoo!'s claim that its citizen journalism site STOMP had on at least two known occasions over the last year infringed Yahoo!'s copyrights. SPH argued, among other things, that Yahoo! had engaged in an “abuse of process” in apparently securing the copyrights in question just before filing its defence and counterclaim.

The landmark case, which has attracted global media attention, pits a traditional media owner against a new media company and is believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore.