Copyright suit: Yahoo pays damages to SPH

SINGAPORE - Yahoo Asia Pacific has paid damages and costs to Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) in a copyright infringement lawsuit, with those responsible for the plagiarism disciplined or sacked.

The amounts involved in the amicable settlement, however, remain confidential.

In what is believed to be the first copyright infringement suit between a traditional print media owner and new media firm here, Yahoo has also undertaken not to, among other things, "knowingly or intentionally infringe SPH's copyrights".

"As publishers, Yahoo companies strive to respect the intellectual property rights of others wherever they do business," a joint statement from both firms said.

"The actions here by a small number of Yahoo Asia Pacific employees are deeply regretted. The responsible employees have been disciplined or terminated."

The US-based company acknowledged that it had, in connection with its Yahoo Singapore News site, reproduced content from SPH's newspapers without approval. The settlement brings to a close a case which SPH brought against Yahoo nearly two years ago.

In a writ of summons and statement of claim filed in the High Court in November 2011, SPH highlighted 23 articles from The Straits Times, The New Paper and MyPaper that Yahoo substantially reproduced from November 2010 to October 2011.

This was done without the licence or authorisation from the Singapore-listed media group.

The articles included political and crime reports. Yahoo news sites provide mainly free daily reports.

Yahoo denied the allegations, claiming that the alleged infringements related only to facts and information which cannot be protected by copyright. It counter-sued, citing two articles and a picture from its website that were allegedly posted on SPH's citizen journalism website Stomp.

Yahoo later applied to withdraw one of the grounds of its counterclaim relating to the Stomp posts. The courts granted an order for it to amend the claim.

In August last year, SPH filed an amended claim citing 254 articles from its stable of products that it said Yahoo reproduced without permission. These were published between July 2010 and November 2011.

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