News Corp and Daily Mail settle legal stoush over lifting stories

Mail-Online-234x282The simmering dispute between News Corp Australia and the Daily Mail Australia which saw the two publishers trade allegations they were each lifting each other’s stories and exclusives has been settled out of court.

The confidential settlement has seen both publishers claim victory with Martin Clarke, the Mail Online’s publisher, telling the Financial Times that the matter had been resolved “very much to my satisfaction”, while a News Corp spokesman told Mumbrella this morning: “We have settled our dispute with the Mail Online.

“It was agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential. We do note there has been a change in the practices of the Mail Online since we made our complaint.”

A lengthy court battle had seemed on the cards over the stoush which kicked off in June, with News Corp sending a legal letter to its rival of stealing “reams of copy” from News’ titles, and ordering the practice to stop. The letter was accompanied by several critical articles in The Australian on the issue.

The Daily Mail fired back citing instances where its own copy and images had been taken by News Corp without permission and arguing that it was operating in line with “best web aggregation practice”, accusing News Corp of not understanding the fundamentals of online journalism and describing its local executives as “King Canutes”.

Since launch the Daily Mail has climbed to fifth in the Nielsen Online news rankings, driven by an increased Australian celebrity gossip and news offering. It is seen as the major rival for News Corp’s free site

At the time legal experts said if the case were to go to court it could set new standards for online journalism in Australia and what is acceptable under the fair dealing provision of the Copyright Act.

Due to the confidential nature of the settlement neither side would be drawn on the detail, however News Corp did warn its rival: “We are keeping a vigilant eye for any future breaches of copyright.”

The Daily Mail would not provide a statement, but did confirm the case had been settled.

Nic Christensen 


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