Google: making the news as well as facilitating access to it The news broke yesterday that internet search leviathan Google Inc lost its appeal against Belgian ruling that blocked it from publishing links to local newspapers on its online news service. According to the Bloomberg report, compiled by the IPKat's friend Stephanie Bodoni, "The Court of Appeal in Brussels on May 5 upheld a 2007 lower court ruling that forced Google to remove links and snippets of articles from French- and German-language Belgian newspapers from Google.com and Google.be. Google, the owner of the world's most-used search engine, faced a 25,000-euro ($36,300) daily fine for any delay in implementing the judgment [Quick question from Merpel, who is clueless with numbers: how long does it take Google to earn US$ 36,300?]]. Copiepresse, the group that filed the suit on behalf of the newspapers, said the snippets generated revenue for the search engines and that publishers should be paid for the content. The publications have a second suit pending in which they seek as much as 49.1 million euros for the period in which their content was visible on Google News. … Google said it remains committed to further collaborate with publishers in finding "new ways for them to make money from online news". [They've found one: it's called 'Let's sue Google'] Google has the option to appeal the ruling to the Cour de Cassation, Belgium's highest court [The Kat understands that this is more than a mere option, indeed a racing certainty. He also suspects that, if that looks likely to fail, Google will be raking over the embers of some Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) rulings on the interface of copyright and competition law with a view to engineering a reference to the ECJ that might either buy time or generate a favourable ruling]. "We believe Google News to be fully compliant with copyright law and we'll review the decision to decide our next course of action," Mountain View, California-based Google said in an emailed statement. "We believe that referencing information with short headlines and direct links to the source — as it is practiced by search engines, Google News and just about everyone on the web — is not only legal but also encourages web users to read newspapers online." …" Google has made it plain that, if publishers do not want their websites to appear in search results, technical standards like robots.txt and metatags enable them automatically to prevent the indexation of their content. This looks a bit like having to opt out. Can readers recall any other Google-related litigation recently, on the other side of the Atlantic, in which Google argued in favour of an opt-out …? Sources: "Google loses appeal over internet links to Belgian newspapers" here and "Google Loses Copyright Appeal Over Internet Links to Belgian Newspapers" here. Thank you, Toby Headdon (Berwin Leighton Paisner) for the links
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