ANP accuses rival of stealing its news

27th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

27 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch news agency ANP is taking its competitor Novum to court for allegedly stealing its news stories. The case is being heard on Thursday. Novum has denied the allegations and claims ANP is out to destroy it.

27 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch news agency ANP is taking its competitor Novum to court for allegedly stealing its news stories. The case is being heard on Thursday. Novum has denied the allegations and claims ANP is out to destroy it.

ANP claims that Novum illegally used special codes to gain access to its subscription-based databank which contains the news stories ANP writes. About 91 percent of Dutch newspapers have contracts that bind them to taking ANP news stories for four years.

The news agency claims that Novum "consistently" uses ANP stories for its own news service. But Novum claims ANP is monopolistic and wants to destroy all opposition.

Novum has admitted that an employee — who worked at the news service from April until August this year — did in fact have access to ANP news. He used a former employer's password and handed this on to Novum colleagues.

But Novum said in a statement that its management and chief editors were unaware of the worker's actions and have since informed staff that similar incidents will result in dismissal.
 
The company denies using ANP copy for its own news stories. Novum also said that since 13 October, technical adjustments have made it impossible for staff to access the ANP servers.

Director Bram Bloemberg tried to reach a settlement with ANP on Tuesday night. But he said ANP is aiming to destroy its rival, which is younger and smaller. ANP has largely operated as a monopolist company in recent years.

"It appears that the position of ANP is seriously threatened by the emergence of Novum. It also appears that ANP is trying to anchor its monopolist position in the Netherlands by claiming exclusivity to news facts," Bloemberg said.

The Editor-in-Chief of ANP, Rob de Spa, disputed Novum's claim, asserting that the press agency was simply opposed to "dishonest competition".

Novum employs 65 editors to provide a 24-hour per day, seven-day a week news service. It was established in 1999 and aims to offer an alternative to ANP. Its competitor employs 250 people, including 160 journalists. It produces 160,000 news stories and 58,000 photos every year.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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