Google (partially) settles Belgian copyright case

Unhold the Press!


Google has settled with two media agencies in a Belgian copyright case which could change the face of its Google News service. It has not yet settled with the group that started the law suit, Copiepresse.

Google has come to an undisclosed arrangement with SORAM and SCAM, two societies representing photographers and journalists respectively. The groups had joined Copiepresse's copyright infringement action against Google over its Google News service.

Copiepresse represents some Belgian newspapers and it took Google to court earlier this year alleging that its Google News service, which publishes snippets of and links to newspaper stories, broke copyright law by copying snippets of stories without the permission of the newspapers.

It won a judgment in a Belgian court in September in which Google was told to remove its members' stories from Google News or pay a €1 million a day fine. Google asked for a re-hearing of that case. That hearing took place last Friday.

SOFAM and SCAM had joined Copiepresse's legal action but have now cut a deal. "Google is delighted that SOFAM and SCAM have decided not to pursue this litigation," a Google spokeswoman told OUT-LAW. "The agreement we have reached with both these authors' societies will enable us to make extensive use of their content in innovative new ways beyond what copyright law allows without the permission of authors."

"Google respects copyright law, which we believe lies at the heart of the creative process," she said. "As today's agreement demonstrates our approach is to work in partnership with content creators and owners"

Google did not say whether it had paid the groups or agreed to future payments, nor did it say whether or not it was negotiating with newspaper groups to either pay or cut an ad revenue share deal.

Though Google News does not carry advertising, Google's search results pages do. Copiepresse's case objects not just to the Google News service but also to the copying and local storing of web pages by the search engine, accessible to users by the 'Cached' link in Google's search results.

Google has argued that it does not think that it has broken the law because it uses just small parts of each article in Google News, which it says copyright law allows. "It is important to remember that Google News never shows more than the headlines, a few snippets of text and small thumbnail images. If people want to read the entire story they have to click through to the newspaper's website," the spokeswoman said.

Margaret Boribon, the general secretary of Copiepresse, previously told OUT-LAW that it would seek to take action against other news aggregators. "The law is the law. We are producing protected works and the law in Europe says clearly that to re-use that content you have to ask for permission," said Boribon. "We want every search engine, aggregator or re-user of our content to respect it and to ask for agreement and to pay a fair price."

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.


Other stories you might like

  • The ‘substantial contributions’ Intel has promised to boost RISC-V adoption
    With the benefit of maybe revitalizing the x86 giant’s foundry business

    Analysis Here's something that would have seemed outlandish only a few years ago: to help fuel Intel's future growth, the x86 giant has vowed to do what it can to make the open-source RISC-V ISA worthy of widespread adoption.

    In a presentation, an Intel representative shared some details of how the chipmaker plans to contribute to RISC-V as part of its bet that the instruction set architecture will fuel growth for its revitalized contract chip manufacturing business.

    While Intel invested in RISC-V chip designer SiFive in 2018, the semiconductor titan's intentions with RISC-V evolved last year when it revealed that the contract manufacturing business key to its comeback, Intel Foundry Services, would be willing to make chips compatible with x86, Arm, and RISC-V ISAs. The chipmaker then announced in February it joined RISC-V International, the ISA's governing body, and launched a $1 billion innovation fund that will support chip designers, including those making RISC-V components.

    Continue reading
  • FBI warns of North Korean cyberspies posing as foreign IT workers
    Looking for tech talent? Kim Jong-un's friendly freelancers, at your service

    Pay close attention to that resume before offering that work contract.

    The FBI, in a joint advisory with the US government Departments of State and Treasury, has warned that North Korea's cyberspies are posing as non-North-Korean IT workers to bag Western jobs to advance Kim Jong-un's nefarious pursuits.

    In guidance [PDF] issued this week, the Feds warned that these techies often use fake IDs and other documents to pose as non-North-Korean nationals to gain freelance employment in North America, Europe, and east Asia. Additionally, North Korean IT workers may accept foreign contracts and then outsource those projects to non-North-Korean folks.

    Continue reading
  • Elon Musk says Twitter buy 'cannot move forward' until spam stats spat settled
    A stunning surprise to no one in this Solar System

    Elon Musk said his bid to acquire and privatize Twitter "cannot move forward" until the social network proves its claim that fake bot accounts make up less than five per cent of all users.

    The world's richest meme lord formally launched efforts to take over Twitter last month after buying a 9.2 per cent stake in the biz. He declined an offer to join the board of directors, only to return asking if he could buy the social media platform outright at $54.20 per share. Twitter's board resisted Musk's plans at first, installing a "poison pill" to hamper a hostile takeover before accepting the deal, worth over $44 billion.

    But then it appears Musk spotted something in Twitter's latest filing to America's financial watchdog, the SEC. The paperwork asserted that "fewer than five percent" of Twitter's monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) in the first quarter of 2022 were fake or spammer accounts, which Musk objected to: he felt that figure should be a lot higher. He had earlier proclaimed that ridding Twitter of spam bots was a priority for him, post-takeover.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022