After Getting Shut Out Of Google, Belgian Newspapers Agree To Do What They Should Have Done In The First Place

from the took-you-long-enough dept

Google and a group of Belgian newspapers have settled part of their ongoing dispute, in which the papers alleged Google was violating their copyright by linking to their sites. In particular, they alleged that Google's caching of articles -- articles they charge people to read after a certain time -- was illegal. They could have, of course, just used either a robots.txt file or meta tags to control how Google indexed and cached their content, but they felt a lawsuit was a preferable course of action (since the dispute likely had little to do with copyright, and more to do with money). Given that, it's a little odd to see the papers now agreeing to use the "noarchive" tag so they can get back in Google search results. As Danny Sullivan points out, it's hard to see this as anything other than a victory for Google. While its appeal of the court case carries on, it would appear that Google's removal of the newspapers from its site -- in accordance with a court order -- illustrated to the newspapers how much free traffic Google sent them, and how much better off they are with it. Unlike in a similar, earlier case with the AFP news agency, Google hasn't had to cough up any cash or enter a licensing agreement with the Belgian papers -- but again, as Sullivan points out, removing the Belgian papers from its index was far simpler for Google than removing newswire content that gets republished across a wide range of sources. it's also far easier for each paper to measure the impact of their removal, whereas the removal of AFP's stories wasn't felt by the AFP itself, but rather by its customers. It's nice to see the Belgian papers come to their senses; hopefully the courts there will soon follow.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Neal, May 3rd, 2007 @ 10:01am

    I've always felt that

    Google should react to each and every such suit by immediately pulling the irate party - be it a web site, newspaper, or whole country - from the index. That alone would stop most potential suits.

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

  2. identicon
    BillGod, May 3rd, 2007 @ 10:48am


    nothing good ever came from Belgium anyway.. Jean Claude VanDam included.

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

  3. identicon
    Greg, May 3rd, 2007 @ 10:54am

    I'd continue leaving them out of the News service, and probably block them from the index completely. But I'm the vindictive type.

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

  4. identicon
    jim helfer, May 3rd, 2007 @ 11:03am


    It has to be defined what web companies can or can't do.
    Google/Microsoft/etc can come in to an office/home and require the occupant to respond in ways that suit only the web company. I'm glad sometimes they have to justify themselves.

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

  5. identicon
    Palmyra, May 3rd, 2007 @ 11:16am

    Re: Belgium?

    Chocolate and high proof ale are two things the make that I would not do without.

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

  6. identicon
    Theoden, May 3rd, 2007 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Belgium?

    Don't forget the waffles...

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

  7. identicon
    jimbob, May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:02pm


    Never mind Stella, They make great beer

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

  8. icon
    Nick (profile), May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    Zell, take notice!

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

  9. identicon
    hexjones, May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Belgium?

    "french" fries are Belgian too.

    The low ABV Belgian beers are awesome.

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

  10. identicon
    Vincent Clement, May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:41pm

    Re: I've always felt that

    That has it's disadvantages as well. People will then sue Google for either manipulating the search results (which they are allowed to do - it's not a public good) and/or for abusing their so-called monopolistic powers. It's just cheaper to pay the blackmail money than fight it in the courts.

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

  11. identicon
    James, May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:45pm

    Re: google/belgium

    I'm gonna call bullsh*t on you... ugh, idiots. Since the existence of the web there has been built in ways to handle this, robot.txt anyone? meta tags? If these sites don't want their site's content indexed (by Google) there are simple ways to do it easily w/o suing anyone.

    Personally if I were Google I'd remove any refernence to them from the index, news and anything else for 5 years. Want back in before then? You've got to pay.

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

  12. identicon
    mike, May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:56pm

    Re: google/belgium

    It is people who want to control and restrict the web and keep it in the stone age of laws copyright and patents that should be banned not Google or other sites who provide a service.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2007 @ 10:19pm


    Hercule Poirot, master detective invented by Agatha Christie, was Belgian. Good stuff.

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

  14. identicon
    BOB, May 4th, 2007 @ 6:22am


    U SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  15. identicon
    Z. Beeblebrox, May 4th, 2007 @ 10:41am


    Belgium, man, Belgium!

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2007 @ 8:46am

    Re: cheaper to pay the blackmail

    Paying blackmail is the worst thing any person, company or country can do. It's short term thinking at its worst.

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

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