This article originally appeared on Vulcan Post.
Less than two hours ago, The Straits Times broke the news that court papers for a copyright infringement suit had been served on the owners behind sociopolitical site The Real Singapore (TRS), courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). Yang Kaiheng and Ai Takagi, the two editors of TRS, were on their way to a pre-trial conference at the State Courts this morning when they were served the writ of summons from WongPartnership.
In SPH’s writ of summons, it was alleged that either Yang or Takagi, or both, have:
“…infringed its copyright in SPH content by reproducing and/or substantially reproducing SPH articles, and/or authorising their reproduction without the licence and authorisation of the company.”
(Source: The Straits Times)
And this is what SPH is seeking as compensation:
“…among other things, a declaration that the defendants have infringed copyright; an injunction to restrain them; damages; alternatively an account of profits they have made by copyright infringement and payment of all sums found due.”
(Source: The Straits Times)
According to Mothership.sg, the couple “did not receive the papers, but knocked them away”.
Those who’ve been following the case closely would know that the duo behind TRS is already facing seven counts of sedition charges. Earlier this month, TRS was forced to shut down after its MDA licence was suspended, following charges that several of its articles attempted to promote “ill-will and hostility between different races or classes”. This morning’s pre-trial conference was scheduled for the purpose of appealing against these charges.
This newest development might also bring about a sense of deja vu for those who’ve been watching the local media scene. Around the time of the TRS shutdown, a website named the Straits Times Review (STR) made headlines for its links to former TRS editor Alex Tan. SPH became involved when it announced its intentions to lodge a trademark infringement complaint against STR, creating a media saga which only ended when STR altered its name to the States Times Review.
As of this time, the materials that infringed upon SPH copyrights have not been revealed. This lack of clarity might give rise to a few questions.
SPH sues TRS defendants for copyright infringement. Will this open the door for more trouble to come? http://t.co/nEWid6piH6
— The Middle Ground SG (@SGmiddleground) May 18, 2015
#TRS now getting fixed by Government mouthpiece Singapore Press Holdings?
Is this another move to stifle… http://t.co/6spkVOoryg
— All Singapore Stuff (@allsgstuff) May 18, 2015
TRS has a track record of producing plagiarized and even borderline defamatory content, which would damage the reputation of Singapore media as a whole. Depending on the evidence that SPH produces to support its claims, the case might be a step forward on efforts to improve the quality of local media.
This is a developing story.