Sggirls to be sued


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jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#1
Website hosting racy photos broke copyright law

By Khushwant Singh

THE company that hosts the risque but popular "sggirls" website has been found liable for copyright infringement after it was successfully sued by a modelling agency.

In a summary judgment issued on Sept 1, Assistant Registrar Ernest Lau ordered Jeyel Technologies to pay damages and costs to Perspectives Models after pictures of two of its models were posted on the website.

Perspectives' lawyer Roger Ngaw said the ruling was a landmark decision that had far-reaching implications for other websites that allow users to post content such as pictures, ringtones and text.

'No longer can a host claim that he has no control over what is posted on the website and is therefore not liable for copyright infringement or libel because these were committed by third parties.

'Hosts have to either continuously check what is on their websites or face repercussions. This judgment makes that very clear.'

Mr Ngaw, 39, said that discussions are underway to decide the amount of damages and costs Jeyel has to pay.

The copyright infringement surfaced in April when a friend of Nicolle, one of two models involved, saw her picture on the site.

The picture was an exact replica of one that appeared on the Perspectives' website, including the copyright warning. There was also a picture of Nicolle's colleague Dawn.

They immediately complained to Mr Hsu Kirk Wei, the boss of Perspectives.

Mr Hsu told The Straits Times yesterday: 'The models did not want to be associated with Sggirls as the pictures there can get rather racy.'

Sggirls removed the two postings two days after receiving his lawyer's letter, but Mr Hsu was not content.

'This has happened before and Sggirls waited for our complaints before removing the incriminating material. They then claimed innocence by pointing the finger at third parties. What they did was wrong, so I decided to take them to court.'

Mr Cyril Chan, 34, a lawyer specialising in intellectual property (IP), said: 'A host is ultimately responsible and must ensure that content does not infringe copyright or is libellous or obscene, even if it's posted by other people.'

Mr Alban Kang, a senior IP law specialist, agreed. 'A newspaper that prints a libellous report and then insists that it was merely reporting what a certain person had said has no defence under the law.

'That's the way it should be for website hosts.'

When contacted through her lawyer, Jeyel's sole proprietor Kuar Soh Cheng declined to comment.

khush@sph.com.sg
A landmark ruiling for photographers I suppose? :thumbsup:
 

togu

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Jul 11, 2002
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#3
Hi jsbn, edited your post to remove the URL, we won't want to do free ads for them. :p
 

Shodan99

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Nov 5, 2004
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#4
It depends on how much is the compensation. If the court settlement is less than what they are earning from the site, then it just becomes a "business decision". A business risk that is manageable.
 

gooseberry

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Mar 11, 2004
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#5
This seems to have large implications for all websites that allow third parties post content.

I'm not sure, but going by this summary judgement - if someone posts copyrighted material (photos etc) onto ClubSnap for example, then ClubSnap can be sued for hosting this content. Seems like a lot of work on the website admins to make sure that every single piece of content posted is free of copyright issues.
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#9
jsbn said:
hehehe... din notice.... ;p
Double edged sword.

Whilst it means that CS admins can prolly carry out legal action against unrepentant leechers, it also means that the Portraits and Events Gallery might be moderated even more tightly to prevent copyrighted photos that had been brought over by a modelling/events company to be shown?

But den again, sggirls had been receiving too much unwanted attention, especially when it comes to issues of the opposite sex. This is not the first time they are being caught in the limelight. :)
 

Digiman

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Jan 30, 2004
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#10
Terence said:
Hey, isn't Roger Ngaw a CS member?
Yes, Terence, it's me! BTW, Hsu Kirk Wei is also a CS member.;)
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#14
Zplus said:
:cheergal: Its a matter of time...

But if you kill one, I am sure there will be many more...
Annoying huh? Chop off one head and 2 heads come out. Its a never ending cycle. :(
 

billpepsi

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Jan 2, 2005
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The 3rd Rock
#15
But what if a user’s personal homepage hosted at says SingNet, contains infringed copyright material. Who is liable? User or SingNet??? :dunno:
 

Digiman

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Jan 30, 2004
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#18
Terence said:
Ah, I'm beginning to see how this all came about. Good job Roger!
No big deal, just helping out a fellow CSer. Anyway, I felt very strongly about this case as I also have photos posted on the net.

For those who feel that the burden is too heavy on the website owners, I would like to point out that under the law, they can always commence "3rd Party Proceedings" against the user who posted the infringing materials. If the website owner is held liable, the user will have to indemnify the website owner for the damages, legal costs etc payable by the website owner.
 

paradigm

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Aug 12, 2004
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#19
gooseberry said:
This seems to have large implications for all websites that allow third parties post content.

I'm not sure, but going by this summary judgement - if someone posts copyrighted material (photos etc) onto ClubSnap for example, then ClubSnap can be sued for hosting this content. Seems like a lot of work on the website admins to make sure that every single piece of content posted is free of copyright issues.
I think that it makes a difference whether you take an effort to remove what you know infringes copyright or you simply ignore "cos it is impossible to patrol". Reasonable effort must be made to ensure that all complaints are seriously looked into and offenders warned and barred. Guess that the onus of the moderators is that they have done their best already.
 

joeyao

Senior Member
Oct 27, 2004
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#20
Digiman said:
No big deal, just helping out a fellow CSer. Anyway, I felt very strongly about this case as I also have photos posted on the net.

For those who feel that the burden is too heavy on the website owners, I would like to point out that under the law, they can always commence "3rd Party Proceedings" against the user who posted the infringing materials. If the website owner is held liable, the user will have to indemnify the website owner for the damages, legal costs etc payable by the website owner.
Very chim man! BTW good job Roger :thumbsup:
 

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