Belgians Ban Google From Their News

    September 18, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The Chilling Effects website revealed a judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance against Google that would ban them from indexing Copiepresse’s French- and German-language news and photographs.

Belgians Ban Google From Their News
Belgians Deny Google News

Copiepresse in Belgium pressed the claim against Google and won a judgment against the search advertising company. Google must publish the decision on its Belgian domain homepage and remove news, photographs, and graphic representations from Copiepresse from Google News and its cached results.

The company faces fines for failing to comply with either requirement, according to the order published on Chilling Effects:

Order the defendant to withdraw the articles, photographs and graphic representations of Belgian publishers of the French – and German-speaking daily press, represented by the plaintiff, from all their sites (Google News and “cache” Google or any other name within 10 days of the notification of the intervening order, under penalty of a daily fine of 1,000,000.- (1.27 million USD) per day of delay;

Also order the defendant to publish, in a visible and clear manner and without any commentary from her part the entire intervening judgment on the home pages of ‘’ and of ‘’ for a continuous period of 5 days within 10 days of the notification of the intervening order, under penalty of a daily fine of 500,000,- ($635,000 USD) per day of delay

Google also has to repay about $1,350 in expenses and court costs as well.

The Court found Google in violation of laws related to copyright and ancillary rights, and a law on databases. It rejected arguments that exceptions could be exercised regarding either of the laws in question.

This is not the first time Google has run afoul of news organizations with regards to the operation of Google News. Agence France-Presse (AFP) has been fighting in court with Google since March 2005 over indexing its news content.

AFP has deals in place with sites like Yahoo! News to license and carry its articles. Google has long claimed that its indexing of content is consistent with fair use practices in the United States.

That practice has caused some grumbling among website publishers. Usability expert Jakob Nielsen complained that search engines were “leeches” hoarding much of the Web’s value. Nielsen declined a public challenge to ban Google from indexing his site, however.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.