Google To Appeal Copiepresse Decision

    February 14, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

A Belgian court reaffirmed an earlier judgment against Google this week demanding Google remove Copiepress-represented news publication material from and Google News. Google issued a statement expressing "disappointment" and a plan to appeal the verdict.

The per diem penalty for noncompliance was at least dropped to more reasonable levels. In the initial ruling, Google would have to pay 1 million euros for every day it did not comply with the ruling. The new judgment dropped that fee to 25,000 euros daily.

Google also said the company was "very pleased that the judge agreed Google should be given notice of articles and other material that content owners want removed."

The company has maintained in other arenas, when copyright concerns have been broached, that by showing only snippets of copyrighted text and linking out to original sources, no copyright laws have been violated. The Belgian court was the first to completely disagree.

That doesn’t mean Google’s stopped arguing their case. From Google’s statement:

We believe search engines are of real benefit to publishers because they drive valuable traffic to their websites.

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.

These Internet standards are nearly universally accepted and are honored by all reputable search engines. In addition, Google has a clear policy of respecting the wishes of content owners.

If a newspaper does not want to be part of Google News, we remove their content from our index—all the newspaper has to do is ask. There is no need for legal action and all the associated costs.

Rachel Whetstone, European Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Google, Inc.

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