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.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Belgian Newspapers Demand Google Pay $77 Million For All The Traffic Google Sent Them”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
K (user link) says:

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.

EvilMessiah says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

Nasch says:

Re: 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.

John Wilson (profile) says:

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!



Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...