Google loses Belgian copyright case for news site links


11 May 2011

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An appeals court in Belgium upheld a previous ruling which said Google infringes on newspapers’ copyright when Google News links to and displays content of newspaper websites.

According to Out-law.com, the Belgian Court of Appeals said Google can no longer link to content from Belgian newspapers in French and may be fined €25,000 for each day it fails to comply with this judgment.

The original case was filed by Copiepresse, an agency acting for newspapers, which alleged Google infringed on the papers’ copyright when the company posted snippets of the news stories and cached copies of the full pages on its servers.

This ruling was upheld in 2007, even though Google argued this came under a fair use exemption.

Google removed articles from Belgian newspapers after this case, but soon started linking to the websites again.

In 2008, Copiepresse said Google had cost Belgian newspapers up to €49m in lost subscriptions and advertising revenue.

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