Google Loses Belgium Copyright Case, and Will Appeal
Google violated copyrights when it linked to Belgium publications through Google News, a Belgium court has decided. Google will have to pay a small fine, but will be able to continue indexing the content in question while appealing the ruling.
A Brussels court ruled in favor of Copiepresse, a copyright protection group representing 18 mostly French-language newspapers that complained the search engine's "cached" links offered free access to archived articles that the papers usually sell on a subscription basis.
It ordered Google to remove any articles, photos or links from its sites — including Google News — that it displays without the newspapers' permission.
But in the future, it said it would be up to copyright owners to get in touch with Google by e-mail to complain if the site was posting content that belonged to them. Google would then have 24 hours to withdraw the content or face a daily fine of €1,000 (US$1,295).
Danny has more at SEL, including that Google Europe thinks it will only have to pay one day worth of fines, not 139. The ruling also doesn't set a bad precedent.
Google says that unlike cases in the U.S. or the UK, the ruling will be seen legally as specific to this particular situation rather than indexing in general.
In particular, Google says that the other groups that joined up with Copiepresse after the initial ruling have eight days to make removal requests if they are still in Google. Google then has to act on those requests, sent via e-mail, within 24 hours. That's the extent of the ruling. For all other sites, Google does not see the ruling as requiring a change to how it operates.
Google isn't ruling out a licensing agreement with the Belgium publishers.