Belgian Newspapers Demand Google Pay $77 Million For All The Traffic Google Sent Them

from the of-all-the-ridiculous-lawsuits... dept

Back in 2006, we couldn't believe that a group of Belgian French-language newspapers could be so confused about how the internet works that they would sue Google for daring to send them more traffic. Of course, if the newspapers were so upset about Google sending them traffic, they could have taken rather easy (robots.txt) means of preventing the indexing -- something they finally did after someone explained to them how search engines work.

But, of course, that's not what it was really about. It's always been about the money. So, it should come as no surprise that the same group of Belgian newspapers is now demanding that Google pay them $77 million. Google should counter that these newspapers owe them every damn cent of ad revenue that was generated by anyone clicking through from Google to those newspaper sites -- plus an additional fee for being so kind as to "advertise" those newspapers websites to those who had never heard of them before.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    I'm No Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Only In Ameri.. er wait....

    Just when I thought suing over everything was a genetic defect in America...

    They should be careful, you never known when a group will take up arms with Google and kick off DoS attacks.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    alex, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    i would hope that googles hive mind is smarter than a belgian newspaper that wants to run a DoS

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Hello Belgium! Welcome to the interwebs!!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Stupid Ignorant American, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    ?????

    Where is this Belgia anyways? Is it a country? Is it named after Belgian Waffles? I want to know more, but I am afraid to use google :(

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    Google seriously should just start smacking these claims down in court and removing the sites completely (as well as any parent owned or child subsidiary sites)

    Eventually, that will affect a conglomerate (Viacom, NewsCorp, whoever) and all this nonsense will stop.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Overcast, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Gee, put up a public website and bitch about hits. Someone needs to get some common sense.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    I Like that idea

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Avatar28, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    No, they can't remove them because that would just get them sued too. Haven't you seen all the people suing Google because they removed them from the listing or even just tweaked the algorithm so that they can't cheat their way to the top of the listings?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    K, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    belgian journalist

    I was a belgian journalist for ten years and started my own website half a year ago (as a freelancer I did not make money anyway so I might as well give everything away for free myself). The weird thing is: when I offered my (belgian) site to Google news, they didn't want it. The reason: a journalist on his own can not be considered a news agency. Quite confusing this is.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    EvilMessiah, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:19pm

    There's precedent ...

    Google already pulled Copiepresse off the main index once. Copiepresse decided that was bad for business so they came crawling back to negotiate a deal. They should just do that again. Last I heard, Google was a business, not the free public entitlement that some people think it is. There's no reason at all why someone should be able to sue them for managing their business as they see fit. A poster on Ars Technica had a nice suggestion which I'll amend slightly.

    1. Settle with Copiepresse for $50,000,000.
    2. Ban them from the main index again.
    3. Charge Copiepresse $50,000,001 to get reindexed.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Jezsik, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Turn their lights off, Google!

    Seriously. These papers should be pulled from Google's index. Let those frit munchers languish in obscurity until they get new governing boards who actually have a clue about technology.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:31pm

    Exactly... google is a private business and can do what it wants.

    Now, if it discriminated for no good reason, I could see that coming back to them. But I think no court would hesitate to dismiss a claim when Google comes in and says 'Your honor.. They sued us, frivolously. We don't want to do business with them. Furthermore, as a publicly traded company, it may even be illegal for our board to have not taken them out of the index'



    coward #5

     

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  13.  
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    eric, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    uh...Belgium is the home to NATO and the EU...ignorant mf.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    Um, first you say (incorrectly) that Google is a private business, and then you turn around and say (correctly) that it's a publicly traded company. Make up your mind please. ;)

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    anotherassumer, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:08pm

    response to author

    Is robots.txt how the internet works or is it just how Google and other search engines work?
    Could the policy of opt-out at some point be re-examined?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    mr mf, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    Re:

    eric
    eric
    eric

    it is interesting that you cite two supranational organisations as belgia's claim to fame, you do yourself a disservice, there is so much more, what do people go to belgia for, the manneken pis? chocolate? moules? i think we should be told

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Puta Madre, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK

    Shut up eric

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonieme Belg, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    fame

    Belgians make good music: check out vaya con dios, deus, jacques brel, vive la fête, to name a few.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    ok #14... obviously I meant private as in not controlled by the government. They are a private publically traded company in that regard. suck it.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Random, May 28th, 2008 @ 5:17pm

    In Process

    I am in the process of trying to figure out who I can sue. I just read a book called "Sue the Bastards" and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into someone else’s legitimate business model.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 9:13pm

    Re: In Process

    Maybe you could sue the yellow pages, afterall - they do index businesses which might be infringing upon your copyrights.

    Or possibly mapquest, they do provide diredtions to businesses which may be infringing upon your copyrights.

    The possibilities are limitless

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Nasch, May 29th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re:

    There are two meanings of the words public and private in this context. One is publicly traded vs privately owned, which indicates whether the shares can be bought and sold on a public exchange. The other is public or private ownership indicating whether the company is owned by the government or the private sector. As in public television vs private enterprise. So Google is a publicly traded private company. Unfortunate that we have that overlap in meaning, but such is English.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, May 29th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Re: response to author

    Robots.txt has been around for years to prevent bots from crawling all over web sites for whatever reason, not just search engines.

    And, looked at that way, they are the opt-out.

    Never mind that blocking yourself from Google, Yahoo and whoever is a silly way of blocking traffic to your sites. Still, if you want to then fine! :-)

    After all with newspapers making so much money these days who needs Google!

    ttfn

    John

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    JustBrian, May 29th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    Sue Google

    Google Maps now has a picture of my house. I think I'll sue Google for not paying me rent!

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    R.H., Jun 4th, 2008 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: In Process

    Last time I checked, companies had to pay (opt-in) for yellow pages listings. It's residential telephone customers that have to pay (opt-out) to have their numbers unlisted.

    Other than that however, I do understand your rather sarcastic point ^_^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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