Yahoo Denies Infringing Singapore Press’s Copyright, Sues

Yahoo! Inc., accused by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. of reproducing news content without its permission, denied infringing the city-state’s copyright laws and countersued the newspaper publisher.

The articles that Singapore Press claimed were reproduced without authorization were insubstantial and insignificant, Yahoo’s Southeast Asia unit said in a defense filed in the Singapore High Court today.

“There is an important public interest in respect of the right of the public to be informed of current events in Singapore,” the Sunnyvale, California-based Internet company said in its filing. “Copyright law does not protect facts and information.”

The Singapore-based newspaper publisher sued Yahoo last month, seeking unspecified damages for alleged copyright infringement of 23 articles from newspapers including the Straits Times from November 2010 to October 2011. Yahoo claimed in its countersuit that Singapore Press infringed its copyrights by reproducing articles and images on a website.

Chin Soo Fang, a spokeswoman at Singapore Press, the city’s largest publisher, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail or return a call to her office seeking comment.

Yahoo approached Singapore Press in April 2009 for a license to reproduce news content, and negotiations between the two companies broke down last year, according to the lawsuit.

Singapore Press deliberately kept silent until a letter from its lawyers on Nov. 4, causing Yahoo to continue with the alleged infringement for a year as it believed the publisher had no complaints, according to the Internet company’s filing.

The case is Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. v Yahoo! Southeast Asia Ltd. S831/2011 in the Singapore High Court.

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