Belgian Publishers Trying To Milk Google Ban For All It's Worth

from the oh,-come-on... dept

The situation with Google in Belgium continues to get more and more surreal. Following the original confused order for Google to stop linking to French and German-language news publications on its Belgian site, Google complied, but appealed. They also appealed the idea that they should have to reprint the entire court order (“without commentary”) on the front of both Google Belgium and Google News Belgium. However, when the court rejected that appeal and started threatening fines, Google put the text on the site, in tiny, unformatted text at the bottom of each page. Now, wouldn’t you know it, the publishers are whining that it was too small and too hidden on the news site. Of course, the court never said they had to make it prominent or put it at the top of the page. In the meantime, though, it seems like others are looking to jump on the bandwagon as well. The latest is that Belgian press photographers are joining the lawsuit against Google, just for the hell of it. It’s not entirely clear what their complaint is, as the article continues to show that many people involved in the case don’t seem to actually understand what’s going on. The article (presumably based on info from the press photographers) continues to say that Google caches the stories on its Google News site, when that’s simply not true. The article also says that Google has claimed removing these sites from the cache is “technically impossible,” which isn’t true (it both isn’t technically impossible and Google never said that removing these sites was technically impossible). Either way, it’s not at all clear what the photographers are complaining about. In some cases, Google does use thumbnails, but that is pretty clear fair use (then again, we thought what Google News was doing was fair use too).


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Comments on “Belgian Publishers Trying To Milk Google Ban For All It's Worth”

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34 Comments
Lazy Guy says:

Re: Begium Google...

Hey, don’t knock the Metric System. It is so much easier to use…plus everything in the US (except for road signs) typically have both Metric and customary units on them already.

Anyway, Google is way ahead of the belgian times. In five to ten years, they’re going to figure out how freakin’ dumb they are.

Dogfolife69 says:

just drop google.be if they dont like your help

I join google on this one…. Google should not post the court order and just drop the Google.be page… Google is provide these newspapers with more user and thus more review that could be generated from their reader, by limiting how google shows the news from their site, they restrict the number of people that might actually visit the site… face it, it google news summarizes the acticles in a more interesting way that it was written, more people would want to see the fully article… i think google should flex their power and show the belgian newspapers that messing with google over something so trivial will only hurt them in the long run.

Peter Forret (user link) says:

We're not all that stupid

For your information, Belgium is mostly Flemish speaking, with a French speaking and a tiny German speaking minority.
Incidently it is the French press that started this ridiculous lawsuit against Google, and we’re not too proud about them either. The whole thing is indeed a blatant show of ignorance about how the web -and Google- works, both on the pubisher’s and the judge’s side.
Drop the publishers’ sites from the Google index? I agree completely! Drop Belgium “off the Internet”? That’s a bit harsh…

Zach Calvert says:

Google out to do just what the courts want it to do. Post the court order on the web page, remove the ability to perform searches, and just tell readers they are pulling out of Belgium and are dissapointed to do so. Then have a list of companies/people responsible for Google to make such a decision.

It would be a funny backlash when students/teachers/intelligent people begin to knock down the doors of these companies/people.

iHeartPirates says:

Re: Editors take note

Well, it could actually be written either way. It really depends on the author’s intentions. If he/she wanted it to read “it is worth”, then yeah…apostrophe to show a contraction. If he/she wanted it to read as “all of the ban’s worth”…then no apostrophe is needed in “its”, as this is how it is used to show possession.

Take it from a grammar nerd.

Solo says:

Woohoo my country is popular!

Being Belgian (but living in the land of Freedom, the United States of America) I can’t be more pleased than to see my proud country make the news.

Wait? They just made an ass out of themselves.

I appreciate the knowledge and breadth of culture displayed in the other comments though. Good call about the waffles!

More seriously, I thought this kind of crap was tried by the French as well but went nowhere. In any case, it’s showing alot of ignorance both from the publishers and the judge. The rest of the world want only one thing: getting picked up by google, being indexed, showing up in the result. This is sure way to attract alot of traffic.

This is especially true for the news media. When I use google news, I’m often sent to australian, south african, brazilian (but not belgian 🙂 news sites.

Somebody let them know that Google actually increases traffic to their site.

Not all Belgian people are idiots. I can’t say anything about the ones who make the news…

Anonymous Coward says:

the future of history (of the present)

50 or 100 years from now, kids in Belgium are gonna have to do a school report on some crap or other that happened today. The ones that pick relatively obscure happenings are probably going to have to resort to a page caching service such as Google. Now, when Belgian kids can’t find any caches of their local news service site, they’ll have to use a cached CNN or whatever page. So, 50 years from now, nobody will have a clue these Belgian news sites even existed today – conclusion, they’re only biting themselves in the ass…

Arnvid (user link) says:

No Belgium, No WWW

Just as a little reminder to all those Belgiumbashers: do a google search on Robert Cailliau.Maybe you’ll learn something.
Oh and google hasn’t been saving up on lawsuits themselves. They’ve been feverishly trying to get some localised versions (in the local dialects) to stop.
And for the sake of it, off course it’s a bit strange of this guys not wanting to be linked, but hey, it’s a free country over here. And google isn’t all that either. I often use other searchmethods, because google just plain sucks say 40% of the time.
Dank u voor uw waandacht.

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