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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

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