News have spread today about Singapore Press Holdings suing Yahoo South East Asia for "has "substantially" reproduced articles from its newspapers without proper licensing or authorization".
A few friends on Facebook found examples of articles on Yahoo that may be the 23 articles that is in contention and most of them are found to be without byline.
Take this article for example.
Wrote Yahoo News,
Speaking to The New Paper (TNP), Tan’s 54-year-old daughter, a civil servant who wanted to be known as Miss Koh, said that she hired the maid to take care of her mother.
However, on Friday, Koh received a call from her tenant saying that the maid had disappeared and Tan was alone at home. When she got back, she found S$40,000 worth of jewellery and about S$20,000 in local and foreign currency missing.
The Yahoo News team cited the interview to The New Paper and therefore assumes that the copyright has not been infringed.
However, if this entire article is based on The New Paper article, Singapore Press Holding might have a strong case against Yahoo. I believe Singapore Press Holding would be arguing that the only way Yahoo would be able to publish this news was that it made full reference from their own articles.
As such, as most of the Singapore Press Holdings printed article in the digital format are found behind a paywall, Yahoo would thus be an alternative source to read the similar news, thus Yahoo is doing it without the necessary licensing or authorisation.
Over at the Intellectual Property of Singapore website, there is a paragraph highlighting fair use in copyright.
From IPOS website,
Where the copying is for the specific purposes of research or study, it shall be taken to be a fair dealing as long as the copying limits are observed. For a published work of at least 10 pages, the copying limits are up to 10% of the number of pages or one chapter, whichever is the greater.
In other cases, fair dealings for the purposes of criticism, review or reporting current events would not constitute copyright infringement. In the case of criticism or review and the reporting of current events in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, a sufficient acknowledgment of the work is required.
Yahoo's argument would possibly be that the articles used are for the reporting of current events and sufficient acknowledgement was given to their source of the article.
In addition, all Yahoo news have comment boxes and would this considered opening up current events to criticism?
In 2009, Redsports, a blog dedicated to the write-up of local sports, found that LianHe ZaoBao, part of Singapore Press Holdings, infringed on the site's copyright by publishing a photo in the Chinese daily without the permission of the site. There has been no updates of this case yet.
What part of “© REDSPORTS.SG” did they not understand? (© is the universally accepted symbol that stands for copyright)
The photo was taken by Marvin Lowe, a Red Sports volunteer, who confirmed that Omy did not at any time seek his permission to use the photo. Neither did they ask us. We would have rejected them outright because of the intended use of the photo.
Given the circumstances of the story, we think the infringement is especially vile. A young girl died tragically.
Was OMY so eager to give a face to the story that they would stoop so low as to rip off someone else’s picture?
At the bottom of the www.omy.sg website, there is a line that says: SPH Copyright ©
The double standard.