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Singapore Press Holidings' tussle with former radio personality puts spotlight back on copyrights

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) , the publisher for The Straits Times, issued Daniel Ong, a former radio personality in Singapore, a bill of $749 for republishing an article about his venture into the F&B businesses.

Wrote Daniel Ong,

"We get an email stating that we need to pay SPH $535.00 per story about Jaime(my superstar wifey) and our Successful business Twelve cupcakes. Oh And there's also a $214 fee for investigating us...huh?!?!?!?! So all in all we owe them about $3k...??? FOR sharing it on social media and our own website.
..So, we grant them the stories...n after the story gets published... of course we SHARE IT with our following! In total about 30,000 people we reach out to...on FB and twitter(maybe lotsa duplicates).. "

Supporters of Daniel Ong have claimed SPH for being greedy to ask for an interviewee for payment to republish the entire article.

It is also rather disappointing that some communication professionals are putting down SPH's copyright and claiming that is a "new" ruling.

This blog wrote in 2010 on a website was asked to pay the same amount for republishing Strait Times articles without permission.

One has to note that granting an interview to a publication, be it The Straits Times or any others, does not give the interviewee the rights to publish the full article on another medium without the permission of the publisher.

However, if you do want to put your article online, it is best to stick to the 10% rule of photocopying.

From NTU's note on Copyrights,


Copying of works in the following instances will not constitute infringement:-
1. You are deemed to have copied for the purpose of self-study or research and thereforenot infringed copyright if:-
(a) you copy one article in a periodical publication; where a literary, dramatic or musical work is not less than 10 pages, you copy up to 10% of the number of pages in a published edition of the work or
(b) if the work is divided into chapters, up to one chapter.

As they say in Singapore, law is law.

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