Belgian news publishers settle copyright dispute with Google

Google will pay all legal fees and start promoting the publishers' content in AdWords campaigns

Belgian French-language news publishers settled a copyright dispute with Google, agreeing to promote each others services while Google will pay all legal fees.

The publishers sued Google in April 2006 for allegedly violating their copyrights by displaying news snippets in Google News and linking to cached copies of pages in Google search. By republishing part of the articles without paying, Google profited unfairly, the publishers said.

Several Belgian courts ruled in favor of the publishers, and last year, the search giant was ordered to remove all content created by the papers from its websites. Recently, the case was submitted to the Belgian Supreme Court, and now the parties have reached an agreement.

"Google, the publishers and the authors, even if they retain different legal positions, agree upon the opportunity to end the legal proceedings and to leave those disagreements behind," the publishers and Google said in a joint news release on Thursday.

Google will pay all legal fees and the parties agreed to promote each others services. Google will for example drive traffic to news websites via AdWords campaigns and in return, publishers will place ads for Google in their media. "In addition to this partnership, publishers can, on a voluntary basis, re-enter Google News," the parties said.

When the dispute started, the Belgian French-language media had no contact at Google in Belgium, and had no clear view on the company's intentions, media company IPM Group said in a statement. Since the arrival of new Google management things changed, opening the door to a better relationship, it added.

Philippe Nothomb, vice president of Copiepresse, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Frans Wauters, general director of SAJ, the organization that represents journalists of the Belgian written, audiovisual and digital press, and François le Hodey, CEO of the IPM Group, were also unavailable for comment.

Google continues to face similar problems in France and Germany. In Germany, the Parliament is discussing a controversial copyright bill that will allow news publishers to charge search engines such as Google for reproducing news snippets. The bill was backed by the German cabinet in August.

According to the German publishers, Google is pirating their content by republishing snippets without sharing revenue, and without asking for consent. Last month, Google started an online campaign against the bill, calling on German citizens to back Google because the bill can "massively disturb" the way people find information on the Internet.

The campaign was criticized by German politicians who said the company is trying to use its users for lobbying interests under the pretext of a "so-called project for the freedom of the Internet", they said at the time.

Meanwhile, French publishers want to be able to charge Google to compensate them for ad revenue losses, an issue that has been discussed at the highest political level in the country.

In October, French President Francois Hollande warned Google that France may introduce a law to make Google pay for republishing news snippets if it doesn't strike a deal with French news publishers before the end of the year.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightregulationinternetGooglelegislationlegalsearch enginesintellectual property

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?