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September 18, 2006

Belgian Press Out Of Google

A Belgian court has ordered Google to remove articles from newspapers represented by Copiepresse. From the court order:

"Find that the activities of Google News and the use of the Google cached violate in particular the laws on copyright and ancillary rights (1994) and the law on data bases (1998).

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.- € 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,- € per day of delay."

Belgian publishers were upset that Google keeps the content of their articles in the cache and considered this a copyright infringement. They didn't understand there are other ways to be removed from Google's index and that Google's traffic is valuable.

"We are asking for Google to pay and seek our authorization to use our content. Google sells advertising and makes money on our content," said Copiepresse general secretary, Margaret Boribon. Her statement is, of course, false because Google News doesn't have ads, Google Search shows ads next to page snippets and Google drives traffic to their unworthy sites.

Google plans to appeal to the court order, but Belgium's law seems to not be on their side. Until then, they removed the sites from Google Belgium, as you can see from this search (Le Soir is one of the most popular newspapers from Belgium). Users can still find the pages at


  1. I'm from Belgium, and I'm wondering: why are they complaining about this? This is extra exposure that will have the same effect that YouTube had on NBC!

    OK, they do not make money off this, but I'm sure that Google can make a settlement with the newspapers. For example, they could share their ad income with them.

  2. I'm Belgian, and now be ashamed... We, again, looks like stupids moron facing the rest of the world.

    Those people are acting like they were in the 18th century.

    Information is there, and has to be shared freely.

    Again, I'm not eager to return back living in belgium.

  3. But when you seach on Google France, you found !!.... strange !!!

  4. As you could read from the court order, the sites are removed only from

  5. Google should just say fine.

    Shut down and stop indexing all .be sites for 'awhile' - see how the Belgian public responds.

  6. This is pathetic, what the hell are they on about??

    Why they are moaning over archives is.. its just sad how someone could get upset over an archive.
    I mean holy freakin crap, it isn't doing anyone ANY harm!
    I highly doubt news paper sources gain any decent amount of money from archive requests, so why complain about it???

    Maybe Google will come to some settlement, say so much money to view an article and tie it in with Google Accounts.

    I hate people who try to hide information, even worse when its non-current.

  7. I want to comment that this is the french speaking community only!
    About one third of Belgian population. 2/3, the Dutch speaking community press will still be available on Google
    SO before everybody starts bashing on Belgium.

  8. Now if I were an (online) newspaper, I would like people to visit my site and click my ads (=revenue). And maybe some visitors might even be interested in subscribing (=revenue). Now, if Google were to copy the contents of my site, put it in there cache and show the complete content on their news site without forwarding visitors to my site... Yes, I think I would be a little pissed of.
    I agree 80% internauts find info throug search-engines. And search engines may spider my website. But Google has to keep their hands of others content.

  9. > About one third of Belgian population.
    > 2/3, the Dutch speaking community
    > press will still be available on Google

    Untrue. Dutch Belgian newspapers have already been removed from Google News earlier.