Take your own action on SPH

Here is yet another story of SPH demanding payment from a person they wrote about. And this is not the first time I’ve heard of this. Apparently, if you republish an article written by them (about you), on any medium – you will be liable for a bill by SPH, without warning, without consideration. However, what I did not know, is that they even bill you for “investigation fee” – which we sincerely feel is utter rubbish. In this situation, we have here our national newspaper, generating millions of dollars in revenue, harassing a small cupcake chain over a superfluous case.

I accept that logically, there are copyright infringement laws, but at the same time, any media, newspapers or otherwise, thrives on content about people. The further the news goes, the more people will be curious to read an official medium to find out more about it. So I cannot accept it contextually, that SPH would want to go around pulling legal muscle on individuals who were just overjoyed that they were featured on a newspaper.

Yes, the small business profits from the news. But so does SPH from the article. Who profits more here? Millions of dollars in ad revenue? Or tens of thousands of dollars in cupcake sales?

I am disappointed with the SPH. You’re legally correct, you’ve got everything right on paper, you’ve held workshops to “educate” people – but it is not good customer relations to attack small companies like this. This is precisely the sort of attitude that must change in this country: start reconsidering, not defending your legalistic stance.

If the SPH has illusions that it has a monopoly on publishing news in this country, it had better start thinking again.


Now you’ve read the story, why not take action: join us and express you displeasure to the Straits Times. You may use the following template and send it in to: [email protected]:

To the Editor of the Straits Times:

I have read with displeasure SPH’s measures on Daniel Ong of Twelve Cupcakes. While it is technically correct for your company to legal recourse on his sharing of your material, I believe at times that we ought to practice “live and let live”. Anyone who shares such material written by the SPH is simply enthusiastic and very happy that he/she has been published on a national medium and sharing this happiness is a natural thing to do. I would have done the same. Please do reconsider changing your rules of engagement when dealing with future circumstances, and please do reconsider your active persuasion of $214 “investigation fee” with Mr. Daniel Ong.



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  1. Why is it such a big deal with charging Twelve Cupcakes for licencing fees? Is it just because celebrities own the place? Why don’t we do a fair trade? Daniel Ong can get his way if Mediacorp does not charge their interviewees licencing fees for recordings of their interviews on radio.

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