SPH settles copyright infringement with out-of-court settlement from TRS editors

Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) said on Wednesday that it has reached an out-of-court settlement with the two editors of The Real Singapore (TRS) over a copyright infringement suit it had filed last year.

In May 2015, SPH filed a lawsuit against Mr Yang Kaiheng and Ms Ai Takagi, the two TRS editors, alleging that 244 of its news articles from its newspapers had been reproduced on their website without its permission between January 2011 and April 2015.

The lawsuit against TRS was filed against the two editors while they were detained in Singapore after having been charged with seven counts of sedition for articles published between October 2013 and February 2015 that allegedly promoted ill-will and hostility between different races or classes here.

The out-of-court settlement from TRS includes the payment to SPH of an undisclosed sum and the publication of an open apology by Ms Takagi, published on the print edition of Wednesday edition of The Straits Times.

In her open apology, Ms Takagi wrote that she has acknowledged and admitted – as the developer, operator, editor, moderator, administrator and/or manager of TRS website – that news content belonging to SPH was reproduced and/or substantially reproduced on TRS website, without SPH’s approval. She also wrote that she would not to repeat such acts of infringement.

Last year in May, Media Development Authority (MDA) suspended the statutory class licence of TRS and ordered the website’s operations to cease. The website and all related social media sites and mobile applications have since been taken down.