US Internet giant Yahoo! on Tuesday rejected allegations of copyright infringement by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and issued a counterclaim against the leading Asian publisher.
"The company denies all allegations of wrongful copyright infringement by SPH," Yahoo! Southeast Asia said in a press statement.
"Amongst other things, Yahoo! Southeast Asia highlighted the fundamental principle that copyright law does not protect facts and information.
"In addition, there is an important public interest issue in respect of the right of the public to be informed of news and current events in Singapore."
In its counterclaim, Yahoo! said SPH reproduced without authorisation several Yahoo! articles and pictures on STOMP, a citizen-journalism website owned by SPH.
Last month, SPH -- publisher of the Straits Times newspaper and other dailies -- said it was suing Yahoo! for copyright infringement, accusing the California-based web group of reproducing its news items without permission.
SPH wants Yahoo! to pay unspecified damages for infringement.
Yahoo! is one of the top online sources of news in Singapore along with the the Breaking News section of the Straits Times website, both of which can be accessed free of charge.
Both are competing for online advertising revenues from Singaporean and foreign companies along with Microsoft's MSN, which has a news tie-up with Singaporean broadcasting-based group MediaCorp.
SPH is one of Asia's biggest media-based groups, with a near monopoly of Singapore's daily newspaper market and prime property assets.
Group revenue in its financial year ending August 31 was down 9.4 percent from a year ago at Sg$1.25 billion ($959 million), but revenue from its newspaper and magazine business was up four percent at Sg$1.01 billion, according to the SPH annual report.
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