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Kenyan Digital Publisher Sues Phoenix Browser over Copyright Infringement

Phoenix Browser

Phoenix Browser app PHOTO/Tech Arena

Gotta Media Limited, the company that operates online news site has sued Cloudview Technology Limited over copyright infringement.

Gotta Media is accusing Phoenix browser for lifting and publishing its content on between 2019-2023 without the former’s consent.

In the suit filed by James T Makori advocate at the Milimani Chief Magistrates Court, Gotta Media is seeking general damages for copyright infringement inflicted by the Chinese-owned browser.

It is also seeking damages for loss incurred arising from diverted traffic as well as loss in advertising revenue.

Gotta Media is also seeking the court to order exemplary punitive and aggravated damages in its favour.

The media outlet also wants the defendant to settle the cost of the suit as well as interests on all the prayers.

The court documents further show that Gotta Media through its proprietor Mwangi Muraguri tried to reach out to Phoenix for settlement without success.

In one of the letters sent on November last year and seen by this outlet, Muraguri sought to know if Phoenix paid for the content they lifted from other websites.

The proprietor was also particularly struck that his website’s content was garnering thousands of views and comments on the browser but he was not being paid a penny.

He also noted that few users click to the small bold “Read Original” link on the side of the story which translates to loss of traffic and revenue.

“Thus, I have noticed a story can accumulate, say, 130,000 views on your platform but only about 40 will click on “Red Original” button to the website,” says Muraguri.

To demonstrate that he was gaining nothing from the paltry referral traffic, the director notes;

“I’ve had a number of clients approach after seeing how a story is doing on Phoenix but they are always taken aback when they realise the numbers (on Phoenix) rarely spill on to the website.”

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A screenshot of articles lifted from PHOTO/Original

Mwangi further went ahead to ask if Phoenix could consider a partnership model revolving around a revenue share.

In a reply, Phoenix Browser manager identified as Gabriel Wang, admitted to the company lifting the content owned by Gotta Media Ltd.

He also said content lifted from Gotta News and live on Phoenix browser garnered 3,000 views daily.

“According to our backend data, your content receives around 3,000 daily views on our platform,” Wang said in an email seen by KahawaTungu.

He further says Phoenix was discussing new content collaboration strategies with publishers but remains non-committal in compensation.

“We’re currently discussing new content collaboration strategies. However, for the time being, we may need to continue to continue our collaboration in the same manner,” said Wang.

Cloudview Technology Limited is the company that operates Phoenix Browser app in Kenya. The browser app aggregates news from diverse publishers across the world.

Phoenix browser boasts to have 500 million downloads worldwide with reports indicating the content aggregator has over 2 million daily users in Kenya.

Phoenix App raised over $100 million (about KSh 13 billion in funding) in October 2022.

Gotta Media Limited wrote to Phoenix Browser numerous times before suing the Chinese-owned app PHOTO/Original
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