The battle for supremacy in the digital newspaper sphere has ramped up with news that The Sun is claiming damages of more than £50,000 from the MailOnline over allegations that the Mail used copyrighted material belonging to the Sun in reporting two news stories.
The copyrighted material in question relates to the exclusive footage of footballer Adam Johnson in prison discussing his conviction with other inmates and a second story about former reality TV star Ferne McCann. Prior to publication on its own website, the Sun made clear to rivals that use of the Johnson video would attract legal action.
Whilst the Sun is bringing the allegations on the basis that the actions of the MailOnline infringe the copyrights which they hold over the new stories, commentators have suggested that the core of the infringement proceedings are to ensure that exclusive content is protected from use by other media outlets. Digital advertising revenues for media outlets has fallen over the past year, fuelling the reasoning behind media outlets fighting over attracting as many readers as possible, often with stories containing exclusive content.
Thus, the Sun's objective to protect its own exclusive content is of no surprise given the number of readers which each newspaper attracts. The Sun is still the biggest selling physical newspaper in the UK and draws in on average 4.5 million viewers daily to its free to read website. The MailOnline is however much larger in the online sphere and accounted for 15.5 million daily viewers in March alone.
The potential for litigation is still in its early stages however the MailOnline have made clear that they reject the allegations made by the Sun and would be prepared to defend themselves against such claims.in: Copyright, News